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Placing strings on kindness

Can we place conditions on our acts of kindness?  And if we do, are these genuine acts of kindness or something else altogether?

Months ago, I was in the car with my daughter who was driving; we can have some incredible conversations when we just go for a car ride with no plan.  On this particular day, I remember that she slowed down in order to allow a pedestrian to cross the road, and the pedestrian actually strolled across the road with no sense of urgency for anyone except themselves that was frustrating.  We have all been there, when we have done something kind or generous for another, yet they do not act grateful or the way we feel, they should.  Our kindness is not recognized in the manner we require. 

Stop and think about it, can we make demands on our acts of kindness?

What ensued was a glorious debate for 7 minutes with each of us taking the opposite perspective; although I often know I do, I did not feel we were able to expect or demand someone to respond the way she wanted. As you can imagine, neither one of us won the argument and this thought stuck with me for many months.


  • Can we loan or give someone money then demand that the use it to pay a certain bill versus maybe taking a night off to truly relax?  (Easier to pay the bill instead.)
  • Are we able to help a friend obtain a job interview then demand that they “represent you” well?
  • Or set someone up with a friend or relative and tell them they must like the other person?
  • Or loan you a blouse and say, “but don’t sweat in it”!  (Awe, my dear sister!)

The list can be endless, and we are each entitled to our own opinion, yet be honest with yourself and share what is behind the motivation to be kind – to help another or to control the outcome or just feel good?  Today, genuine acts of good will or benevolence are needed more than ever!

I feel the conditions we place on our acts of kindness remove the true motivation behind the action and ultimately the kindness because we are actually trying to feel good ourselves versus helping another human being out.  An “act of random kindness” is defined as a nonpremeditated, inconsistent action to the offer kindness to the outside world, per Wikipedia.  So if it is not random can we then place strings upon it? 

No end to the debate.  One thing is very certain the world is in dire need of more kindness, random or not, and more tolerance of others.  I love the poem @Damian_Barr penned for regarding how people were feeling about COVID, “We are not all in the same boat.  We are all in the same storm.”  Absolutely, one person’s kindness can be another’s lifeline and so on.

Therefore, I challenge each of you reading this, to do ONE ACT of genuine, unconditional kindness for another, for just one day.  Let me how you feel at the end of the week, expecting nothing from each recipient and just doing what you can.  I am sure you will also feel good.

#randomactsofkindness #commitment #intention #coaching #community #wellness

Photo by Matt Collamer @breakyourboundaries

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