Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty

We’ve all heard this phrase before, “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” It was very popular in the 1990s and continues to inspire people today. It has inspired millions of people to do the thing that we’re discussing this month—perform acts of caring.

According to Wikipedia, the phrase came from writer Anne Herbert, who scribbled it down on a restaurant placemat in 1982. She came up with it as a counter to the phrase “random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty” which had become a go-to summary of the rise in violent crime during the 1970s. The phrase turned out to be so popular that she became a best-selling author and there was hardly a car in the mid-1990s that didn’t have a bumper sticker with the phrase on it.

In its most basic sense, “random acts of kindness” means to do something without premeditation and which is inconsistent with your usual behavior. From Susan’s perspective, that’s a little too specific. Why can’t an act of caring be premeditated or how you usually behave? For example, you have a little extra money at the end of the month, so the next time you drive through Starbucks, you give the money to the cashier and tell them to use it pay for the people in line behind you. That is an act of kindness and is also not random.

Susan wrote about “acts of kindness,” or rather, “acts of caring,” in Dare to Connect. An act of caring, by Susan’s definition, is revealing the light of our Soul in order to touch other Souls in unexpected ways. When we act in a caring way, we are opening our hearts and saying, “Yes, I have something to give.” Susan said, “To care is to automatically become at-one with another Soul.” An act of kindness or caring can be anything—anything that helps us forge a connection to a stranger, making our world that much smaller. No wonder “random acts of kindness” struck such a chord for so many people and continues to be a popular phrase!