Massachusetts Daily Collegian

One week kindness challenge: a review

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(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

You hear it all the time: “Be nice to everyone,” “It takes a lot more energy to be mean than it does to be nice,” etc. Yet, sometimes we don’t hold the door for the person behind us when we’re in a rush, or we’re rude to the customer service person on the phone because we forget they’re human too.

Most of us want to be considered nice people, and we want to put our best foot forward, but we often get caught up in our own lives. We forget to ask our neighbor or postman how they’re doing and actually care, we cancel lunch plans with our friends out of laziness.

As Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season approaches, I think it would be beneficial if we all made a special effort to be kind to ourselves and the people and environment around us with no expectation of receiving something in return.

How does one be nice, you ask? It would be a lie to say it can’t be a little awkward. We live both in a society where people are selfishly preoccupied with their own needs to the point of disregarding others and in a world where nice deeds are thought of as creepy or malicious in some way.

First, we must move away from that mentality. It is crippling to those who want to do good and have a positive mindset. Second – a little selfishness that might appeal to all those self-sufficient millennials out there – doing good not only helps another person, but also helps you by making you feel like you stepped outside of your comfort zone to bring some happiness and generosity into someone’s day.

In an effort to be more kind myself, I participated in a one week kindness challenge – and let me tell you, it was definitely a challenge. To be honest, I found it hard to think of ways to be nice without the cliché “buy someone lunch or coffee” option hanging over my head.

Luckily a friend of mine showed me a website appropriately named “Random Acts of Kindness” where I found some inspiration.

Thus for the next five days I tried to do a random act of kindness everyday, whether it be something like talking to someone new or simply helping my roommate.

Day 1

I was really struggling to think of ways to be make someone’s day better. I’m naturally an introvert, so putting myself out there was daunting. But I knew I had to get over that if I wanted to spread some good. To take it easy and start small, I held the door for people moving things into a truck.

That same day I complimented a girl on her speech for my public speaking class. She was the first one to go and she did such a great job. She was really happy when I complimented her speech and it made me feel good to congratulate her.

Day 2

On the second day, I wanted to make a bigger impact. I have this job where I tutor kids from the Holyoke school district on Wednesdays. That particular Wednesday, I tried teaching the kids some basic French. Though they didn’t learn much, but they seemed to love every second of it.

Day 3

Like I said, talking to new people can be scary for me, but I talked to a new person in one of my communication classes. We got to chatting about our love for photography and it was so nice to be around someone who was as passionate about their hobbies as I am.

I also texted my old roommate out of the blue. I wanted to see how she was doing and was glad to learn she was great. It made me feel good to rekindle that relationship after a long absence.

Day 4

I was not in my kindness mood this day. My roommate texted me that I “locked her out” of our room. I was annoyed because I didn’t want to walk all the way from Maple to Coolidge, but I knew I wouldn’t forgive myself if I made my roommate get a spare key.

So, I grudgingly opened our door for her. Hey, I didn’t say being nice felt good all the time.

Day 5

For my last day, I picked up chopsticks for a person who dropped them in the dining hall. Their hands were clearly full and I didn’t want them to drop any more stuff or cause a mishap because I personally know how embarrassing that can be. Though it was something simple, it felt good helping that person.

On that same day, I stopped two girls from sitting on a bench that had water on it. I know I would be upset if no one told me. Besides, who wants wet pants?

Conclusion 

Overall, I think the challenge was worth it. I realized I already do nice things for people but it doesn’t hurt to put in a little extra effort and be intentional about it. I definitely want to try the challenge again and work toward more impactful acts of kindness.

Though at times it was annoying to be nice, it’s important to realize being nice is impacting someone’s life in a positive way and everyone needs a little more positivity. I challenge all of you to intentionally do random acts of kindness and see how it helps someone and changes your frame of mind.

Cynthia Ntinunu can be reached at c[email protected].

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