“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.” ― Kahlil Gibran,
If you are struggling with shyness or social anxiety, it can be tough to put all that aside and do something for someone else on an everyday basis, especially for someone you don’t even know. Not to say you don’t, but it’s easy to get off track once you get stuck in your head.
This is all about doing a random act of kindness (RAOK), but this is not a goodie good post.
I’m writing this to you because I’d been very selfish. I put off being a better person until I felt ahead enough.
Making conscious choices over a long period of time will help them to become unconscious choices.
When you become more outward more often, giving and focusing on others will become a part of you and your lifestyle.
We will walk through the value of incorporating this into your life so you will know how doing random acts of kindness will improve the value of your time, help you feel more connected, and help you look outside yourself.
Be a little easier on yourself and start the cycle of giving to feel again.
These acts of kindness can impact many lives positively, but let’s address your needs first.
What about me?
You may feel you are a giving person, but you haven’t been able to get back to that because you are just trying to keep up yourself.
You might feel that you are missing out on things you need, like someone to lift you up or something you wanted for yourself.
By becoming a leader here and helping someone else, maybe even someone struggling in the same ways you struggle, you can start to get these things you need back in return.
It may not be immediate, but just start to give with that thought in mind.
Not only will you get things in return, but you’ll loosen up.
Reprogram your mind through habits and there’s no better habit than one that gives you a break from analyzing and judging.
Gain confidence by making a difference and contributing while not wanting anything in return.
What if you feel you don’t have anything to give?
I don’t have the time or the resources.
I know, you want to stop messing around and start making things happen in YOUR life.
You’re thinking you’ll have more to give once you are successful, but if you start giving you will be successful by making the difference in someone else’s day.
Even little contributions are a great way to make better use of your time because time is all about quality.
I hated the whole “let me get the door for you” interaction over the years, so it may not look like a lot to someone else, but I’ll go out of my comfort zone and see it as an opportunity to exchange kind words and make someone else’s day better.
Implement a random act of kindness each day and your priorities will start to shift around towards quality.
If you don’t know where to start and you don’t have anything to give and feel you need things first, then this is the best time to start.
Yes, you must take care of yourself, but give what is unique to you based on your resources.
This doesn’t have to cost you a cent. Compliment a stranger or buy them a coffee. Put kind sticky notes in random places for people. Write a letter to a friend or anonymously to someone hurting that you see on the news.
This is not to mean you don’t already give, but you can shift your giving around more meaning.
I already give and everywhere I turn someone wants something from me.
If you work in an office, you know what I’m talking about. Potlucks, birthdays, showers, etc., etc., etc. What gives?
Yeah, people are always asking and wanting things from you. Part of saying yes is to say no too, but when you do say yes you can mean it and feel good about it.
I tend to automate most things in my life and sadly, donations became just another bill. I was donating to a girl overseas but she left her community and no longer needed the contribution. Even though I was sad to lose my girl, I chose to use that money intentionally each month. I plugged these events into my calendar. Writing in my calendar events like “I will save an animals life through my contribution”.
You can create something to look forward to and connect with each time you give. When I was challenged to donate the backpack, I personally bought the items in the store. I thought about the person that would receive it and how they would need those things.
You will feel the difference when you are more mindful and participate more in your contributions. This is all a part of focusing outward towards the difference you can make. This can also be a secret, it can be anonymous, and you don’t have to feel obligated to do the same thing again.
Just make it personal and meaningful.
Don’t keep score or point to what’s not fair.
What does doing a random act of kindness have to do with shyness or anxiety and isn’t the act of giving to feel better about myself selfish anyways?
Oh, you analytical darling you. You are even worried about being judged for giving!
My answer to that is that getting more involved will help you break out of your head, which is where your stuck a lot of times when you’re shy and anxious. By giving, you can start to feel connection and excitement versus how successful, attractive, smart, etc. you are trying to be.
Do something nice, even if it is to selfishly look like you’re going something nice. The more you do, the more you will trust yourself and open up to do it and do it for the right reasons.
Break that wall by taking action. The more you get involved, the less you analyze the reasons and perceptions and it becomes a part of your automatic actions and it will infiltrate your day in the best way.
Through my Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness class I was reminded to do these random acts of kindness and I noticed positive changes with getting out of my shell more. I was challenged to donate a backpack filled with things someone would need to get back on their feet and to do a mock interview to someone in need of a job. These both turned into a new connection for me with the city. It created a bridge for me and it will be easier to repeat again and again.
So challenge yourself to do it a certain number of times per week. It will help you come out of your shell, interact near or from afar, and start to connect in your own way.
So, now that you can see that a random act of kindness, even if it appears selfish or is selfish, will help others, will help you get out of your head and take a break from judging yourself, and will eventually become easier, ingrained, and will grow in value and impact. These are great reasons to start.
Your lack of resources, how much you are already hounded, and waiting until you are more ahead socially become the very reasons to start the habit of doing a RAOK.
So keep some granola bars with dollar bills rubber banded to them as a backup, write some kind stickies, write a letter, or whatever you want.
If you do a RAOK ideas search, there are a ton more ideas. Here is a site I one used.
Taking action is vital to overcoming social anxiety and shyness and what better action to take then one that is free from needing to be perfect or shiny.
To track this new habit, you can consider a productivity type app. I use Productivity Wizard and there is a free version. You can simply plug in a number of times per week goal and track it over time. This is also what I use for goals and action planning. So get out there a start a RAOK weekly habit and let me know how it goes in the comments below!
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