AOK Thursday: No Such Thing as “Random”

People throw around the term “random act of kindness” all the time as an accepted phrase in our lexicon. It’s always troubled me. Randomly being kind? Really? Like, maybe you tripped in the kitchen, falling into the lemon meringue pie, ruining it, and thus saving your Aunt Trudie from a slice that would have only inflamed her gout?

Sorry, but I don’t buy it and neither does Susan Smalley, PhD in Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. She says in a recent essay,

“While the acts may be directed toward anonymous people or animals, the person’s act of kindness is anything but random — it is deliberate and directional — non-random in nature.

I think that the non-random nature of kindness is key to its value. It reflects a conscious choice on the part of the actor, to give, to help, to share and to soothe.”

So give some kindness, and give yourself some credit at the same time.

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