There is so much individual and collective suffering in the world.
It is not uncommon for people to go extended periods of time feeling like they can’t catch a break or have something good happen to them. These periods create cycles of negative thinking, emotional distress, and a bleak outlook about the future.
We must recognize that all of us have the power to help people out of these periods of darkness.
One of the most effective ways of accomplishing this is by shining our light through selfless acts of kindness. To do this, we recognize our shared humanity with others, and treat each person in need as we ourselves would want to be treated.
These acts of kindness can have great impact on us and on others.
Through them, we offer our help without expecting anything in return. The great secret, however, is that the more kindness we give to others, the more kindness we will experience in our own lives.
Frequently, the recipient of the selfless act of kindness will be inspired to commit similar acts for others, and our one simple act will send ripples of love across the world.
Living Selfless Acts of Kindness
I will never forget one summer evening several years ago. My car got a flat tire in "Middle-of-Nowhere", Virginia while I was driving home to North Carolina from Washington, D.C.
There was no exit for miles, and the one I found did not have any gas stations or restaurants where I could stop. I was forced to drive into a vacant lot as the sun was setting, hours away from anybody I knew who could help.
Things quickly got worse when I realized that my spare tire was not properly inflated and my faulty jack, which is used to change tires, collapsed under the weight of the car.
To say this was not the type of place you would want to be stranded would be an understatement. As day became night, I began contemplating the dangerous option of hitchhiking to find help.
But miraculously, after thirty minutes of not sighting a single vehicle, an old car with a middle-aged couple pulled into the lot and asked if I needed some help.
I replied in the affirmative and they immediately drove to a service station in a nearby town and returned with a spare tire that would fit my vehicle.
Within an hour, I was back on the road and in a state of disbelief that the only people I encountered throughout the entire situation were kind enough to help me, a stranger in need.
When nothing was going my way, this couple’s selfless actions transformed my trip and I was deeply inspired to commit similar acts of kindness in the future.
Practicing Selfless Acts of Kindness
We must all become more intentional in our practice of selfless acts of kindness.
Many of us are so caught-up in our repetitive and excessive thoughts that we do not acknowledge the people around us.
But, when we become mindful of the present moment, we are more likely to notice a person in need and choose to help them. Whether the help is emotional, monetary, or physical, our selfless act of kindness can give them hope and bring love into their lives.
For example, maybe you have an acquaintance who is experiencing a personal issue that you recently experienced and overcame. Reach out to them and see if there is any way that your story can help alleviate their suffering.
Or maybe you're at a restaurant whose credit card machine stops working and the person in front of you is two dollars short of the cash they need to pay for their meal. Offer to cover their two dollars for them.
Or perhaps you notice somebody struggling to carry their groceries to their car or apartment. Offer to lend a helping hand to ease their burden, and they will greatly appreciate your kindness.
Selfless acts of kindness will transform our hearts and the hearts of those whom we help. Those we help will, in turn, transform the hearts of others for whom they perform selfless acts of kindness. We can bring great love into the world when we shine our light.