Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Random Acts of Kindness

I think I’ve spoken about RAOK’s before on my blog, possibly in one of my Sunday Spotlights. If you’ve never heard of an RAOK, it stands for Random Act of Kindness – basically something nice that you do for someone out of the blue, without expecting anything in return. I used to run an RAOK scheme on the message board of a charity I was part of, and, every week, we would organize for messages, cards or gifts to be sent to someone who was having a particularly difficult time. I loved doing it. Yes, it was hard work at times and my health did suffer, but it was so lovely to know I had helped to brighten someone’s day.

I recently set up an RAOK group on Facebook, which you can request to join here, although I actually have to take a step back from it at the moment because I’m not well enough to continue with it. That being said, there is nothing to stop other people organising their own little RAOK’s on there, so please do suggest projects and get people involved! It would be great to see the group being put to good use to help other people, although you don’t even need to use a group if you don’t want to. There are plenty of ways to carry out an RAOK off your own back, without anyone else even knowing.

I was sent this book by a friend who had finished with it (an RAOK in itself!) and was really excited when it arrived with my postman. It’s a very easy book to flick through and pick out ideas from, so I managed to get through it rather quickly. I thought I’d share a few of my favourite RAOK’s from the book, and also a few that I thought were slightly odd! Hopefully they’ll make you laugh, but also inspire you to carry out the odd RAOK yourself.

Text someone goodnight.

It’s amazing the impact a single text can make. It doesn’t have to be at night; a simple message at any time of day can really help someone who might be having a difficult time. I know I’ve had days when, quite frankly, I wished I had stayed in bed, but receiving a little message from a friend has made me feel that my day was worth waking up for. These days a text costs nothing, so why not message that friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, or that friend you know is going through a difficult time. It only needs to be a few words to make a difference to their day.

Record someone’s favourite program for them.

Isn’t it annoying when you get home from work, crash out on the sofa and go to watch the latest episode of your favourite program, only to find out that you forgot to put it on record? Wouldn’t it be lovely if someone had thought of you enough to put it on record? It’s such an easy thing to do, so why not do it for someone you share the house with – be it your Mum, brother or partner, I’m sure they will thank you for it (as long as it doesn’t involve deleting a recording that someone else made!)

Pay for a stranger’s meal.

I’ve never done this before, and have never had it done to me, but how good would it feel at the end of the evening to ask for the bill, only to be told it had already been paid. Times are tight right now, so it doesn’t necessarily need to be a whole meal that you pay for, but perhaps offer to buy someone a drink, or pay for their desert. You never know, one day someone might return the favour!

Plant a flower in someone else’s garden.

This one made me chuckle a bit, as it could actually land you in trouble rather than brightening someone’s day! I guess it depends how much of a keen gardener the owner of the garden is. If they have a beautifully manicured space, the thought of someone planting a flower any old how would probably fill them with terror! Perhaps it would be better to buy a pretty plant and leave it on their front door step instead, then they can decide where to plant it.

Stand outside a Weight Watchers meeting and tell people how trim they look.

This final one also made me slightly uneasy! I’m not sure how well this would go down, and you may end up with a punch in the face, rather than a feeling of doing something nice for someone else! As most of us know, weight can be a very sensitive issue, so standing outside telling everyone how great they look could well rub people up the wrong way. Instead, why not compliment someone on their choice of clothes/hair colour/make-up? And rather than complimenting every person that walks by, try and focus on just paying one random compliment a day – it will mean much more to that person if they don’t see you complimenting everyone in sight!

There are hundreds more RAOK’S in the book, but I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I’ll leave it there. But I hope that’s given you some food for thought to get started on your own Random Acts of Kindness.

Do you do any RAOK’s at all? Or have you had one done to you? Share your ideas and see what others have to say!

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  1. I love the ideas of random acts of kindess! I've done a few small things, but I'd love to be able to afford to pay for someone's meal some day.

    1. I know what you mean Sara, although I think even the little things are important. I know how much it brightens my day when someone sends me a text, or if I get a nice letter in the post :) xx