It’s pretty much undeniable that the world is full of hate. People killing people, bullying people for their sexuality and/or race. In this veritable shit-ball of anger and hatred, there are a few things you can do to spread some love and generosity around.
#1: Give a little. Good deeds do not always have to be gigantic, life altering events that are in-your-face visible to the public. If you want to do something good that won’t break the bank and won’t take a lot of time, pay for that car behind you in line at Dunkin, buy a gift card and leave it at the counter at Starbucks, or pick up the tab for the next pizza after you at your neighborhood pizza joint. Sure, the grateful recipient of your kindness might never know it was you, but it will make them feel good that someone thought to do a good deed for them. Bonus: paying it forward usually leads to more people paying it forward. Start by paying for one little coffee and who knows, you might start a chain of good deeds that lasts all day.
#2: Give a compliment. This is a tiny little thing that doesn’t cost a single penny. Never underestimate the positive power of a good old fashioned compliment. Telling someone you like their nails, their shoes or their purse makes them feel like the care they’ve put into themselves is showing-it’s validating when someone offers positive feedback. There are many people who struggle with self-esteem issues, and you might give them the little bump they need to help them get through the day.
#3: Give your time. Volunteering is one of the greatest ways you can give back to your community, and there are many different causes that you can align yourself with. From animal shelters to homeless shelters, there are many worthy organizations that need the help of generous volunteers in order to survive. So, go cuddle a cat or serve food to someone in need-it will cost you nothing, and mean the world to someone who is struggling.
#4: Listen to a friend or family member. Being a good friend is one of the most sincere forms of selflessness you can offer. Even if you’re tired, take a minute and send a “thinking of you” text to a friend who is wrestling with personal issues, or drop in on Grandma and bring her some lunch and friendly conversation. Don’t write off the value of a few moments of your time. This makes the people you care about feel loved and valued which can be a lifeline for someone in need.
#5: Clean out your closet. Most of us have some extra things lying around that we don’t really need or intend to use again; books, clothes, random electronics. Pick up your extra crap and donate it to a local homeless shelter, library or other charitable organization and rack up those feel-good points knowing that your perfectly good items are not going to waste in your closet. Instead, you are giving someone who is less fortunate the opportunity to get something useful and affordable.
It’s easy to hide in our bubbles and think that we can’t affect change-after all, how much can one person do?
The answer is, a lot. One person does a good deed, which inspires the recipient to do a good deed, and the chain often lengthens. You’d be surprised how far a charitable cup of coffee really goes.