At least once or twice a year, without fail, I stumble upon the same sentiment. “It’s okay to do nice things – but once you post about them on social media it’s self serving,” and it doesn’t seem to disappear. I’ve heard it for years, and yet, I’m not immune: I always feel driven to respond. If this is something you believe – my hope is that this article might help you consider another perspective.
Our news feeds are literally covered with bad news—often consumed by raging political rhetoric, stories of personal drama, complaints about the weather, and general dissatisfaction. So why should the the good stuff be so bad?
Here’s my story about how I came to feel that sharing the good stuff, the good deeds, is a good thing:
Nearly six years ago, I was in a deep personal rut. I had no purpose and felt incredibly empty. I didn’t know where I could find joy. I started out on a personal mission to find my own heart and soul. Nearly 100 pounds overweight with cloudy ambitions, I decided it was time to make a change. I made a 30-day commitment that from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I’d juice, do yoga, and a carry out Random Act of Kindness each day. I posted my progress online as a way to keep myself accountable. What happened next isn’t anything I could’ve predicted: other friends started to commit to doing Acts of Kindness, too. My friends were inspired to get involved, too. In those thirty days, ten different friends reached out and joined in.
So, the Acts of Kindness I committed to not only saved me from my own lack of purpose but they helped others find their way. The output was that both the givers and receivers were able to feel good. More importantly, there was a chain reaction from doing and sharing, and the ripple effect made many, many people happy.
After that first year, I started a charity. Collectively more than 30,000 people have joined me through Kindleigh and The Kindness Community to get involved in giving back to others. I know this service multiples to a huge number of people — I can’t tell you just how many, but I know it’s a lot. So my message is “Shine your light no matter who wants to dim it.”
We’ve been taught it’s wrong to share our good deeds. Equally, we’ve been shown that sharing the negative is acceptable. I’d like to change that.
I can tell you today, that if I died tomorrow, most the people in my life would unequivocally know what I stood for: kindness. At nearly 40, I feel blessed to not only have found my purpose but also to have defined my legacy. It’s all because I spoke up. It’s because I used my voice to encourage others to do the same.
Let’s save our judgement for the bad things. Doing good for the world should be celebrated and enjoyed. Charities could not function without the support of the masses. Social media is our most empowering platform. If you want to inspire others…please do. I believe it’s not selfish nor self-serving to share your good deeds. You are changing the world for the better, and I’m just one example of how sharing this can lead to even more positive change. If the posts about good deeds and kindness really gets under your skin – it’s simple to unfollow any person or group who believes it’s worth sharing.
Early on, when I met this criticism I knew I had to take a good look in the mirror. This is because I believe if you’re defensive or easily hurt about something, you have to check yourself first: the problem might be you. When I took that look inside, I realized my sole motivation was to help others. I wanted everyone else to feel as good on the inside as I did when I found the joy in giving back. I really knew in my heart that while the juice and the yoga were for me, the giving was for others.
2018 year is my sixth year of Random Acts of Kindness. It is the fourth for paying off strangers layaways, which I now a national campaign affectionately called Payaway Layaway. Our organization Kindleigh has fed hurricane victims, helped hundreds of foster kids get the school supplies they need, provided necessities to the homeless across the nation, and even surprised and delighted women and children with gifts who were victims of domestic abuse. With these actions we started a movement. We are making a difference.
I’ve found that only way to affect social change is to speak up. I couldn’t have done it on my own, and without sharing, none of this would have been possible. It’s important, of course, to stay humble as you use your voice for good. Your bright light can in turn light a thousand others and through this we could potentially drive out the darkness. Kindleigh and the Kindness Community are proof of this. Making a positive impact on the world is something to be proud of.
Together we make a difference. Let’s build each other up instead of tearing each other down.