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The Joy of Unexpected Kindness and 3 Reasons It’s Hard to Be Kind

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” ~Howard Zinn 

Have you ever experienced an unexpected that completely changed your day?

I have, and I sincerely hope you have too.

Please pause for a moment and try to remember the last time that happened. How were you feeling before? What happened? And how did the act of kindness impact you?

If I look back on my own life, I can find countless moments where the suddenness, the unexpectedness of an act of kindness, shook me awake.

It might sound strange, but this seems to have been especially so when it came from a stranger.

That’s not to say that the kindness of those close to us isn’t important, because it is. The kindness of our friends, family, and colleagues can keep us going when , and their joy in our happiness makes the good moments radiate even stronger.

But there is something about an act of kindness from an unexpected source that causes its healing ripples to be especially powerful.

And most of the time this isn’t some great or inspiring act but just a very small gesture: a smile, a friendly greeting, a sincere question, a few words from someone who genuinely seems to wish you a good day.

I remember the first time I went backpacking, feeling lost in a city, staring at my map, when a random stranger offered me his help in pointing out the way.

I remember feeling tired and lost in thought after a long drive, stopping for gas and a quick bite, and the man working behind the counter at the restaurant clearing my mind with the pleasure he took in his work, smiling with a disarming friendliness.

I remember sitting in a train in Thailand for fourteen hours, anxiously moving toward my first month-long meditation retreat, and suddenly getting

feelings mindfulness joy

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