Monday, 24 April 2017

Stop 'Random Acts of Kindness'...


...And start just being a good human all of the time.

It seems we've slipped into thinking doing nice things for other people needs to be acknowledged and applauded these days. That helping someone who's dropped their shopping or giving a stranger the remaining 2 hours on your paid parking ticket is a 'random act of kindness' when really it should just be second nature...something we all do, all of the time, just because being a nice toward another person is in our human DNA.

However, nope, not how it works these days. We must take a photo, show how much of an amazing person we are to the online world via social media and receive praise for the 'such amazing gesture' and 'incredibly sweet act'. Why can't you do a so-called good deed just for the sake of it? Why do you need to tell people and receive a pat on the back...isn't the act itself rewarding enough?

I see something most days on social media. From little things like giving someone the 20p they were short of for their bus fare or bigger things like helping someone move into a new house and people go crazy congratulating those who have spared a part of their day or given some of their money to help another as if it's a huge feat. It's easy. Being a nice, kind, helpful person is not difficult and does not need to be made into such a huge deal. That only reinforces the belief that it isn't common, special, a one off.

This goes for fundraising too and I bet you have seen the posts I mean. I know so many amazing people who have done countless charity events and raised money without needing to brag about it, but there are for sure those people who want you to know what they have done, even indirectly to seek congratulations. Charity is not about you and your ego but doing something for those less fortunate because you are in the position to be able to.

There are buzzfeed articles and even whole websites dedicated to 'Random Acts of Kindness Ideas'. Ideas?! It perplexes me. I just don't understand it at all.
It's not a random act of kindness handing in the wallet you found on the street or helping a struggling bee with some sugar water, it's just something every single person should be doing by default.

I don't know where I'm going with this apart to say - PLEASE STOP doing 'random acts of kindness'. Stop doing things unless you are doing it purely to help. And if you do help, STOP posting it all online as if you are some Saint or something.
Well done to those of you who have chased someone down the street when they left their cash in the cash machine, helped catch a stray dog, taken food to a poorly friend or went to have a cuppa and chat with an elderly neighbour, without having to tell anyone/post it online.
Being a good person is not about the gratitude, it's about spreading much-needed kindness in the world. All the time. Not randomly.

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After having written this post a few weeks ago I came across the above documentary essentially about why you should sponsor a child in Africa. You may not see the relation straight away, but a quote from comedian Dex Carrington near the beginning seems to do a great job in summing up people and their experience with 'good deeds'.
He says, ''The very bedrock of our economic system is based on selfishness. So what we should do is, we should give people selfish reasons why the should help out down here. Because what do they need down here? They need basic needs. They need food, they need health, they need education. What do people want in the west? They want to feel awesome, look awesome and be perceived as awesome.''

You see where I'm coming from? I hope you understand the point of all this. I'm not the best at getting what is in my brain out onto a blank page.

Make sure you watch that documentary too. It's 40mins of your day but I guarantee it's one of the best of it's kind I've ever seen. [EDIT - the original documentary is apparently no longer available to embed. The above video is a short excerpt. CLICK HERE for the full documentary.]

22 comments:

  1. This is very true Danielle. Doing something nice and being a good person should just be second nature. It shouldn't needed planning or posting, it should just be done out of the goodness of our hearts on a daily basis! :)

    Kelly
    www.theblossomtwins.com

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    1. Here here! You don't have any trouble with that, that's for sure :)

      xo

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  2. Totally, completely agree with you! To me, helping someone out who clearly needs help isn't a "random act of kindness". Helping them because you want to should be because you're a good person. To me I would consider a "random act of kindness" something you do that another person wouldn't expect. Like maybe you secretly wash the windows of a person's car or perhaps you found an elderly person's yard that has been overgrown with weeds and you know they can't pull them out so you do it one night while everyone is asleep. They are "random acts of kindness" in my books! And you're so right about everyone needing recognition these days for their "good deeds". Ugh some things people do are so annoying! haha

    Renee | Life After Lux

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    1. I'm so relieved people understand what I meant haha!

      Oh yeah! I didn't even think of things like that. Totally love the thought of secret little random acts...how cool would it be to do something like that and just watch people guess who it was haha.

      xo

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  3. I see this happening a lot, especially on Facebook. People posting about how they gave a homeless man a sandwich, or helped a cat in distress. I don't understand why everyone feels the need to broadcast their good deeds. It's not deserving of 100's of comments praising them - it's just a basic good deed that we should all endeavour to do everyday for no other reason than it's good to be nice towards other people! x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

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    1. Right?! Like someone found a wallet, so they took a photo and put it on Facebook telling everyone to 'share away'! I found a phone the other week and just popped it into the police station after work. Like why does it need to be put online? Just hand it in silently.

      So, so glad other people agree with this haha.

      xo

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  4. I understand what you mean, that sometimes is feel like showing off instead of trying to inspire. I think doing anything for charity should be something personal and not public. But, at the same time, it might raise awareness and also inspire others to do something.

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    1. Yeah...I think theres a line. Like I've done quite a few charity events and I usually post no more that 2/3 times on social media. Once when we first start fundraising to announce the event, and once after I have done it to update that I have. Very occasionally I may post another thank you to announce a fundraising total or something but I try not to go on about it too much. I guess it's down to personality and how much you wanna ask people for money lol.
      As for doing things like handing in wallets or giving some spare change, I think it's somthing everyone should just be brought up to know to do. Like, if you can help...help. I feel it shouldn't take seeing someone say they bought a homeless person a sandwich to make you want to do that. You should just want to? I dunno.

      xo

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  5. I can't tell you enough how much I agree with this post Danielle! Kindness and compassion should be something we automatically do, not because we feel obligated to it. I think with the world in the state it's in at the moment, that we would see more people just genuinely being kind, supportive and caring, as opposed to the opposite. I know I don't nearly enough of what I could be doing, but I try to do little things each day, to try and brighten up someone else's day, because life can be really hard in general and just being kind to someone else can change their entire day, and it makes you feel good too, knowing that you've helped in some small way, regardless of whether anyone else knows you did it or not. I feel like my inner Hufflepuff just wrote this! - Tasha

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    1. Yeaasss!! All of that. Inner Hufflepuffs for the win.

      xo

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  6. No you're right. Many people promote their good deeds these days with an intention of arrogance and showing off and then the good deed just becomes fruitless afterwards. We all need to start being good and kind every day or if we must show them on social media or whatnot, we need to make sure it's only with the intention of encouraging others to do good too and not to stroke our ego.

    I'm the type who would be kind even to someone who hates me. I just feel life is too short to be hating even the haters!

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    1. Exactly that, life is far too short not to be kind all the time.
      Those who hate are usually the ones who need the most kindness shown to them too.

      xo

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  7. Really love your thought process. I know exactly where you are coming from. For me it's not even kindness it's just natural. Helping people, family, friends, pets, it doesn't matter. It's just natural. Love how you think miss :) xxx

    Rach | https://caninesandcosmetics.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. ' it's not even kindness it's just natural. ' THIS! Yes!! Imagine the world if everyone was like this?!
      Thank you so so much!

      xo

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  8. Such a good point!!! It makes me sad that more and more people do it for the public lauding it and the recognition when we really should just all be better human beings because it's the right thing to do. That said, the more goodness there is in the world, the better-just leave the need for adulation at home!
    M x

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    1. Oh for sure, after all is said and done a good deed is a good deed and we need that all in the world as much as possible.

      xo

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  9. I think the idea that people should "perform random acts of kindness" started out as a way to encourage exactly the type of mindset and behavior that you advocate: being kind, helping people for the sake of PEOPLE, and not for selfish gains and Instagram likes. In that sense I think it can have a positive impact if it causes people to think about their interactions with others in a different way and leads to sustainable changes in behavior. However, I agree that it ultimately doesn't advocate true kindness and empathy, which are traits that affect every part of a person's life, because of the "randomness" of the actions. Kindness shouldn't be random and handed out like candy when it's convenient, it should be a guiding principle of a person's entire life. So while the idea is not in itself a bad one, I think it places focus on small, individual actions that don't promote sustainable change, is a quick and easy way for someone to feel good about themselves, and can be so easily exploited for personal gain or personal image-crafting. All that being said, I wouldn't suggest that people stop "random acts of kindness" altogether, I would suggest that people incorporate the general idea of kindness more into their everyday lives and worldview and not use a small "kind" act for self-serving purposes.

    Danielle | solongusa.blogspot.com

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    1. Completely agree.
      When I said to stop random acts of kindness I meant to stop the selfish ones. Only do if you are doing purely to help.

      xo

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  10. Totally agree with this, I do see some people posting about the good they have done when most of us do this on a daily basis without feeling the need to tell everyone. I have given people the rest of my parking ticket when there is time left on it or helped the old man across the road as he can't see properly but I have never posted about it as I'm just doing what I was brought up to do be nice to others. However with the charity one as long as they are posting what they have done to raise awareness for the charity rather than boosting their ego then I'm happy to see those tweets/statuses. :)

    Denise The Life of Dee

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    1. Crazy eh. Exactly!! How we were brought up is a big thing I think.
      With the charity thing, it's more so certain people I know and it's hard to explain. I'm all for people giving charities exposure and sharing links for fundraising etc but it's the people who go out of there way to try and get people to tell them how awesome they are.
      I've jumped out of a plane, done countless sponsored walks, hiked 32 miles with my Dad and loads more but have never been praised as much as these people who push and push and tell the newspapers how amazing they are etc. I don't want praise. I do stuff because I want to help so I guess I just don't understand the people who do want this constant praise.

      xo

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  11. Yes just be a nice human all the time! A lady ran after me because I left cash in the machine bless her - I'm sure anyone would do the same. But now I am thinking did she feel the need to tell the Internet ha ha.

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    1. Ahahah I'm sure she didn't :) Nice of her though, shes a good one!

      xo

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