Sunday, January 1, 2012
The 21012 Random Acts of Kindness Challenge
Now is the time of year when many people make promises to themselves like losing weight, working out more, quit smoking, or eating healthier. And many of us will most likely only keep that resolution for a few days, maybe a month at best. However, if we don’t have good habits by now, a new year isn’t going to automatically change that. So maybe reversing out thoughts would make us more determined to carry out New Year’s Resolutions. Most folks do not like letting themselves down. But many dislike letting others down even more. So, instead of thinking about ourselves, our New Year’s resolutions should be about what and how we can give to others without expecting anything in return. Would all of us be more successful if we thought of resolutions in this way? Would we be more inspired if we all remembered that giving feels better than receiving? I don’t know about you but every year my house gets fuller and fuller and more packed with gadgets and other stuff I don’t use or even need. Every year, I jam more storage boxes in my garage and shed and they sit there for so long that after a while, I don’t remember what I’m storing anyway. Most of us have so much already, do we really need another knick-knack or token that we will never use? What if, instead, we all decided to fill a need for someone else? Not buy a fancy car for someone who has a clunker, but how about offering them a lift or paying one month’s car payment for them? How about taking a shut-in to church or reading to the elderly? Or taking a warm blanket to the homeless or paying for a hotel room on a cold, rainy night? It doesn’t have to be big, but something that would truly make a difference in the life’s of others, not your own. I, for one, will confess, I don’t do these things often enough. So here’s my2012 New Year’s Challenge to you and to myself—can you give instead of receive throughout the year? Can you forget the gifts you might receive for your birthday and holidays and instead, give a gift to someone else? Can we “pay it forward,” “give and not receive” or “do unto others as you would be done by?” Can we all give random acts of kindness or good deeds, say, even, once a month? If we all do a good dead for someone else we will be rewarded in ways that material accumulations cannot do. So instead of promising to help yourself, promise to help others. My husband and I in 2011 donated our old boat to the Can Academy for Kids. Due to the severe drought in Texas we’ve been unable to use it all year. It most likely would have taken a long time to sell and wouldn’t have been worth enough to make a difference in our lives. Donating the boat was faster, went to a good cause, gave us a tax deduction and made us feel as if we made a difference in someone else’s life. My 2012 challenge is to do a good deed at least every month, maybe even more often that than. Random acts of kindness. Do I need to shed a few pounds? Yes. I should also exercise more and eat healthier. And I cheat on any of those things just once, my self-esteem plummets every more. So, I’m changing my New Year’s resolution to “it’s not about me,” it’s about what I give away. The Random Acts of Kindness and the gift of giving. Will you take the 2012 Random Acts of Kindness Challenge with me?.....Robyn Wheeler is the author of Born Mad, an in-depth view of her struggle with chronic anger, frustration and thoughts of suicide and her eventual diagnosis of Dysthymia.