As part of our “Love Essentially” series, Jackie Pilossoph helps us navigate the complex world of relationships. Have a question that you would like her to answer? Contact her here, and it may be featured in an upcoming article!
Friday the 13th makes me feel uneasy. Always has. Call me overly suspicious, but I just don’t like it. However, what I do like about this Friday, November 13th is that the day is also World Kindness Day.
According to the website National Today, World Kindness Day, which is celebrated every year on November 13th, has been around since 1998. Created by the World Kindness Movement, the purpose of World Kindness day is to promote kindness throughout the world through both small and large gestures, in hopes to bring people together.
Man, oh man, has this day come at the right time or what? With a pandemic still raging furiously, a roller coaster ride of an election, and a nation that to me seems more divided than ever, what could be more helpful right now than kindness?
Whether it’s calling to check on an elderly neighbor, tipping your Grubhub driver extra generously, or clearing the air with a friend whose political views have created animosity in your relationship, acts of kindness, no matter how small, are so much more powerful than you can imagine.
Take Joanne Litman, for example. Litman is a Deerfield mom of three, who happened to be on Facebook a couple weeks ago and noticed the organization, Lasagna Love, a movement created during Covid-19 that connects volunteers willing to make lasagna dinners for families in need.
Litman, who said she’s always loved cooking for others, decided to sign up. Last week, she cooked lasagna meals for two families.
“One was a single mom who lost her job due to COVID. The woman and her son also currently have COVID,” Litman said. “The other family is a mom who recently had surgery. Her husband is working at home and managing their kids’ e-learning.”
Calling her act of kindness “a privilege,” Litman said the beauty of it was doing something without expecting or wanting anything in return.
“They don’t know me, they never saw me, and we didn’t talk other than to make the arrangements for delivery,” she said. “To be able to give them something nice, a good meal, even though it’s a small thing, just makes me feel good. It feeds my soul.”
Giving back, whether it’s your time or financial donation, is a great way to honor World Kindness Day, but there are many other things you can do, as well. Here are 13 wonderful acts of kindness to consider in contributing to the holiday:
- Reach out to the elderly. Social isolation is a huge problem right now for the millions of seniors who have been stuck at home, so many of them alone, quarantining for over seven months. Feeling isolated almost always leads to a decline in a senior’s mental and physical health. Stopping by for a few minutes with a meal, flowers, or even nothing can do wonders for the moral of an elderly person. Engaging them by asking questions, listening to their stories, and laughing together is the kindest thing you can do for the elderly. Of course, remember to social distance and wear a mask for the entire visit.
- Shop local for holiday gifts. Let’s help our small business owners stay in business this holiday season! That includes hair salons, nail salons, restaurants, bakeries, boutiques, and more. FYI, the annual Girlfriend’s Boutique for Youth Services is being held online this year, offering the chance to shop with a discount at dozens of local businesses. Plus, your donation will help a great cause.
- Clean out some closets and donate old clothes, books and other household items. If you have some downtime, why not do purge some unneeded items and give them to those in need? This act of kindness also sets a good example for kids. Check out Better’s Guide to Donating here.
- Make coffee for outdoor workers. Last Saturday, I awoke to the sound of lawnmowers and leaf blowers. Turns out, the gardeners who work for my association were required to work over the weekend. And, it was freezing outside! So, I brought them all some hot coffee and cake. This gesture could work for your mail carrier, as well.
- Foster a pet. Heartland Animal Shelter is looking for foster homes for cats and dogs. What a wonderfully caring act it would be to take in an animal with no home, right?
- Create Thanksgiving cards for assisted living residents. Looking for an activity to do with the kids? How about creating Thanksgiving cards and dropping them off at a senior community?
- Help someone find a job. This is perhaps the best good deed a person can do. Think about helping someone in need of a job write his or her resume. Coach them on how to interview. Connect them with some of your LinkedIn connections.
- Bake something for someone. I can’t remember one time in my life that I didn’t feel good after baking. So, why not bake cookies or a cake or a pie and drop it off to a neighbor who’s getting divorced or a friend going through cancer treatment?
- Deliver a long-overdue apology. Saying I’m sorry isn’t easy to do, especially if you haven’t spoken to the person in a long time. Picking up the phone can feel awkward and uncomfortable. But, your kindness could bring the other person tremendous joy, and could also rekindle a great relationship.
- Deliver a message of forgiveness. It’s also not easy to forgive. Remember that forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, or pretending whatever the problem was didn’t happen. Forgiveness is about kindness, along with peace and acceptance.
- Give someone who works for you a gift. Whether it’s a gift card, flowers, or time off with pay, a gift to an employee or someone you pay for a service is like saying “I appreciate you. You bring value to my life.” That is just plain old kindness.
- Do something thoughtful for your spouse. The best romantic relationships are those in which partners feel appreciated, respected, adored and loved. Being thoughtful is an act of kindness because thoughtfulness shows your spouse you listen to their needs, and that you are making an effort to ensure his or her happiness.
- Be kind to yourself. Being kind to others is wonderful, but it’s important to be kind to yourself. That means listening to your body and mind, and knowing what you need. It means appreciating yourself for what you do and what you give to others. It means forgiving your faults and mistakes. Enjoy yourself, treat yourself, and celebrate you.
In closing, true acts of kindness are done without any motives other than to be kind. But, they always end up benefitting the giver. Why? Because doing something kind for someone can feel empowering, like what you did made a difference in the world. Being kind can also make the person feel like they matter, like they have purpose.
The bottom line is, doing something kind is like taking a pill for happiness. It’s a high that can become addicting. In other words, you might end up treating every day like it’s World Kindness Day. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
More from Better:
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- 30 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago This November
- Election Night 2020: When Will We Know if Biden or Trump Has Won?
Jackie Pilossoph is a former television journalist and newspaper features reporter. The author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially, Pilossoph is also the creator of the divorce support website, Divorced Girl Smiling. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers.