This holiday season, remember that good deeds and random acts of kindness don’t count unless you post about them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and every other social media outlet you belong to. I was so thankful when November finally ended because I’m not sure how much longer I could handle reading Facebook statuses like “Day 20: I’m thankful that I studied hard in college and graduated with honors because now I’m working at my dream job and can afford to do anything I want, including traveling to Bora Bora this summer! #Godisgood #blessed #thankful.”
Be my guest if you want to brag about your life, accomplishments, and personal sacrifices (we all do from time to time), but don’t do so under the pretense of posting what you’re thankful for, and broadcasting your good deeds and acts of service. If you do something kind for someone and automatically think, “posting about this will surely get a ton of “likes” on Facebook!”, you may need to reevaluate your intentions and where your heart is.
I can tell it’s time for me to take another break from Facebook when I log on and instantly become infuriated with the posts my “friends” are making. And it’s not just those bragging about their exceptional servitude, it’s people starting political fights, belittling others, and being pessimistic and nasty in general. I started thinking about the post I previously wrote when I decided to take a “Facebreak“, and I was surprised to see it was written almost exactly one year ago. I guess there is something about the holiday season that either makes me a complete Grinch and easily irritated by those around me, or people just get 1,000 times more annoying than they are the rest of the year. But who can really blame them? There are so many opportunities during the holidays to tell the interwebs how fantastical and selfless you are.
Now, I do believe there are ways to share your good deeds and experiences in a way that inspires others to do the same. I would have never been inspired to do my own random acts of kindness had I not read a woman’s blog post several years ago about the random acts of kindness she does with her family. Her post was heart warming, humble, and motivating. I finished her post thinking “I want to do that too, how can I bless those around me and remain anonymous?” instead of “this chick thinks she’s God’s gift to the world, huh?” Like most sensitive topics, it’s all about the delivery.
On Instagram, there are thousands of people documenting their random acts of kindness with hipster filters and witty hashtags. I searched the tag #randomactofkindness and was not disappointed by the results:
It’s a little nauseating, right? Again, maybe I’m way off base and am being a total Grinch about this. If someone posting about the good deed he or she did inspires someone else to do a good deed too, then what’s the harm? Maybe there is no harm at all, except the impression of neediness and desperation you are giving off to everyone you interact with on social media and/or in real life. If you feel the need to tell someone about your kindness, there are less tasteless ways to do so. Broadcasting for the purpose of self promotion on social media is the tackiest of ways to “inspire others.”
I encourage you this holiday season to do the unthinkable: perform random acts of kindness and don’t tell anyone. Need some ideas to get you started? I’ll list some below and I’ll be sure to notate which ones I have personally done and how many times (HAH! Just kidding.)…
- Buy the food of the person behind you in the fast food drive-thru
- Rake a neighbor’s leaves/shovel snow
- Send care packages to deployed soldiers
- Give care packages to the homeless
- Find a stranger’s Amazon wishlist and purchase something off of it. Many people have their wishlists set up so you don’t even have to know their address, Amazon will send it directly to them!
- Pull over to help someone whose car is broken down
- Buy someone gas
- Let someone cut in front of you at the grocery store
- Visit the elderly at a nursing home
- Write a letter to someone who could use encouragement, or made a difference in your life
- Bake a cake or meal for your local fire/police station
- Pick up trash around your neighborhood
- Donate to your local animal shelter
- Send flowers to someone anonymously
- Help someone load or unload their groceries
- Give a stranger a compliment
- Leave lottery tickets somewhere (gas pump, restaurant table, checkout line at grocery store)
- Put money in someone’s parking meter
- Hide some dollar bills around the dollar store
“If you want to call attention to your good deed then it isn’t a good deed, it’s a self-serving one. Why? Not only have you patted yourself on the back, but you’re fishing for others to do the same.” -Donna Lynn Hope