FOR PERSONAL AND RELATIONSHIP RECOVERY
By Lynn Seiser, Ph.D.
Random Acts of Kindness Needn't Be Random!
The idea of random acts of kindness always brings a smile to my face. I remember the first time I saw this slogan on a bumper sticker. I remember buying the book by this title by Conari Press. This is a great idea! If each one of us, for no reason at all, did some unexpected act of kindness, things would certainly look different. I remember in the sixties, people just walking down the street and giving flowers to people. The looks they got. We are not used to having people treat us with kindness, random or not. We are not used to acting kindly to others either.
As I thought about it, I wondered, what if random acts of kindness weren't random. What if we began to do them systematically, habitually, until they became natural acts of kindness? Random means purposeless or haphazard. A purpose is an intent or plan. It is determination to get or do. Are random acts of kindness really without purpose? Are they without intent? I once heard no one is altruistic. Everyone is selfish and never does anything without there being something in it for them. There is always some intent. Nothing appears to be random. Not being random, it probably isn't haphazard, meaning not planned or by chance. Perhaps they appear random because they are spontaneous. Spontaneous natural acts of kindness that benefit the receiver and the giver. I like that.
Acts refer to something done. Theatrically put, an act is a short performance or something done merely for show. We think of acting as temporarily pretending to be another. It is an act meaning not real. Acting usually refers to our behavior, not our thinking or our feelings. A lot more than other people's behavior or acts influence us. The attitude that shows in their performance influences us even more. Have you ever seen an actor who just brings life to their part? They don't act, they become. It comes from their very center. It is who they are. So let's take a lesson from the best and move beyond just acting. Let us become. What if we all showed our spontaneous and natural attitudes of kindness? It gets better all the time.
Kindness is the quality or habit of being kind. Kind means a natural group or division, an essential character. Kind, as an adjective, means to be sympathetic, gentle or benevolent. We are all members of a group called mankind (or humankind to be politically correct). We all belong to the same natural group having the same essential character. That character is our kind-ness, our belonging. Knowing that we are all the same whole. Showing sympathy, gentleness or benevolence to any part affects the whole. Everyone benefits from kind-ness. What if each of us began to spontaneously, naturally and gently express our belonging instead of our separation? Does it get any better than that?
Random acts of kindness needn't be random. This can be an expression on a regular basis. Any kind-ness you show others comes back to you. Any kind-ness you show yourself reminds you that you belong to a mankind (or human-kind for the politically correct) and goes out to them. Any kind-ness is shared by all, perhaps earth-kind. All who are on the planet belong to the same natural group. Perhaps the next time we see a bumper sticker we'll remember this belonging and show kind-ness on a regular basis. Random acts of kindness needn't be just random.
Thank you for listening and for sharing acts of kind-ness along the journey.
Lynn Seiser, PhD, MFCC is an internationally respected psychotherapist, consultant, speaker and writer with over twenty years of direct clinical experience in recovery counseling for offenders and victims of violence, trauma and abuse. He is also known for his work in "holistic" recovery from addictions and his emphasis on "healthy" relationships. He offers 11 web pages at http://members.aol.com/SeiserL/index.html and can be e-mailed at SeiserL@AOL.com . To discuss the benefits of his services, to make a referral or to make an appointment contact him at 550 Pacific Coast Hwy. #203, Seal Beach, CA 90740 or call (562) 799-1371.
Return to the January/February Issue Index page