We don’t know about you, but we’re feeling pretty dispirited about the state of the world these days. The ongoing news of hate rallies out of Charlottesville and the political chaos that followed have made us question humans’ capacity for empathy in what we thought was a society built on progress. If you’re struggling to make sense of it all or get out of bed with a good attitude every day, you’re not alone.
Luckily, Be Kind to Humankind Week is upon us, and we’ve never been more ready to celebrate (anything). Observed between August 25 and 31 every year, the occasion was established by Be Kind to Humankind (BK2HK), a community created in 1988 as a “celebration of people and the kind acts that they perform all across the globe.” Though this celebration may be new to you (it was certainly new to us!), we want to encourage you to truly embrace it, especially this year. Here are 10 easy ways to share a little extra kindness with your fellow (wo)man this month — and beyond.
1. Let a fellow driver into your lane ahead of you, or give up your seat on the train. BK2HK has officially deemed Monday of Be Kind to Humankind Week “Motorist Consideration Monday,” but we can celebrate generous commute practices every day — and patrons of mass transit can get involved too. Tone down your road rage this week and make the highway (or the train system) a happier place for everyone.
2. Open the door for someone. This seems like a pretty basic suggestion, right? All the more reason you should give it a shot! When you see someone struggling with arms full of bags or corralling rowdy kids, run a few steps ahead of them and grab the door. You’ll be amazed by the smile you get in return.
3. Leave an encouraging note in a public place. Wouldn’t it be great to find an inspiring message on your windshield or stuck to the mirror of a public restroom (generally not the most inspiring place, we know)? Make that special moment happen for someone else by keeping pens and sticky notes in your purse this week and using them to spread a little love. “You go, girl!” or “You’ve got this!” would be a great start.
4. Strike up a conversation in an elevator or line. Our natural tendency is often to keep quiet — and to look at our phones — when we’re in a holding pattern in an elevator, line, or waiting room. This week, resist the urge to mindlessly scroll through Instagram in order to avoid eye contact with strangers. Say hello or offer a smile instead.
5. Commit to positive social media. We’re certainly not asking you to pretend that the scary things happening in the world right now aren’t happening, and we would never suggest you stop sharing your thoughts about them on whatever social media platforms you prefer. That being said, we would encourage you to be mindful of the tone you use in your posts. For this week, at least, let’s try to keep it positive, shall we?
6. Drop some money in a tip jar. Those tip jars aren’t just there to look pretty, people. They’re meant to give us the opportunity to celebrate the hard work of those who pour our coffee, make our sandwiches, and ring up our supermarket hauls. We know you have a change purse full of coins burning a hole in your bag, so spread the love and show people that you appreciate what they do to make your life easier.
7. Take someone to lunch. Invite that quiet colleague who usually keeps to herself to join you for a salad, or offer to treat the person behind you in the deli line to their favorite sandwich. Chances are, they’ll share the goodwill with someone else, and you’ll be spreading kindness out to humankind in ways you never would have expected.
8. Sign up to volunteer. Spend some time this week researching organizations or causes that speak to your interests, and commit at least one hour to serving with them in the coming months. Of course, if you can set up your volunteer time during Be Kind to Humankind Week, that would be ideal, but signing up is a major step in itself.
9. Be a thoughtful neighbor. Whether you live in a suburban development or an apartment building in the big city, we’re willing to bet there’s someone or something in your community that needs a little TLC. Why shouldn’t you be the one to give it? Tidy up a common outdoor space, visit with an elderly neighbor, or sweep out the building’s lobby. It surely won’t go unnoticed.
10. Hear someone out. This week, we challenge you to be slower to shut down conversations, even if you’re in a rush or less than interested in the topic at hand. We’re all guilty of doing this, and this occasion seems like the perfect opportunity to lend an ear when we would otherwise bail.
How will you celebrate Be Kind to Humankind Week? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)