It's amazing how a few words and deeds can have a profound effect even many decades later.
One digital artist friend I know stopped painting two decades ago because her professor laughed (literally in her face) at her dream of one day studying painting as a graduate student at The Royal College of Art in London.
"Where do you get such high flying ideas?" he scoffed.
Well, I am happy to report that she is doing just fine, went to graduate school in NYC, travels the world, has screened her animations on five continents, and has won multiple awards for her work.
And she (just now) started painting again! But what would have happened if that one snarky comment twenty years ago had been replaced by a kind one instead?
Another friend of mine recently let me know that something as simple as giving away some Halloween candy years ago has stayed with her all these years later.
"I don't remember my childhood in fine-grained detail, but I do still remember the year that my father grounded my little sister and I for forgetting to take the trash out to the curb (again) on our way to school on what happened to be Halloween day. I remember my rage at the ridiculously out of proportion punishment of not being allowed to go trick-or-treating that night. And I remember my gratitude when two girls our age from a family at church brought us a big chunk (probably half) of their candy the next time we saw them. That was the biggest kindness I can remember anyone paying me as a child. Thank you Anastasia Yecke Gude! And thank your sister for me please."
I had completely forgotten about this and haven’t spoken with her since 1991 or so.
I don’t mention this to toot my own horn by any means, just to demonstrate that it’s possible for a simple act of kindness to be remembered for decades.
Did you know that research backs up that you will boost your own happiness levels for a sustained period of time when you do small "happiness activities" such as listing a few things you are grateful for each day or writing someone in your support network (friends and family) to let them know how much they mean to you?
This being also Valentine's Day, I'd love to introduce you to a cool tool and website that makes all of this even easier. Check out Happify.com.
In particular, they have a Kindness Chain Tool which makes it easy and free to send someone you care about a quick compliment or message of support, delivered right to their email inbox. Start your own here.
I hope that once this "Day of Love" and "Week of Kindness" ends you will consider making random acts of kindness a yearlong habit. And you can always start by being kind to yourself.
If you need a few ideas, come have a look at our pampering services over at Healing Hands. :-)