Unappreciated Acts of Kindness

But I put so much effort in! Have you ever done something special for someone and your efforts didn’t even get noticed? Humans, we are social creatures, we like to interact with each other and love to be appreciated. So, why do some acts of kindness go unnoticed? What can we tweak so our efforts land in alignment with our intentions? I’ve been asking myself why some acts of kindness go unnoticed while others are highly praised. This is what I discovered. People only appreciate acts of kindness, I mean really appreciate them, not a cursory thank you, when it aligns with what’s important to them. Let me explain how I discovered this to be true.

I wanted to help my daughter around the house when her baby arrived and was wondering what would help. I took some time to think about all the stuff she wasn’t getting done around the house and I logically came to the conclusion that if I helped her get all the extra things done that would lighten her load. Wrong! I put in a huge effort and she didn’t even notice. I started to realise I was thinking from my point of view and what I thought needed to get done, not what was important to her. Then I started to observe what she was doing. The things that she complains about when they don’t get done and what she’s proud of accomplishing. What someone shares what they have achieved is your biggest clue about what’s important to them, what they appreciate.

I had to suspend my idea of helping her and replace it with what would align to her values. We value what we give our time, energy and effort to. Take a moment to look back on things you’ve done for others. Were they based on what you think should be done, or what they think should be done? It’s a tough question to ask yourself. The answer has no relationship to your intention of kindness and being helpful. When someone does something for us it typically comes from a beautiful place of generosity, giving and kindness.

When our acts of kindness don’t get noticed it’s because it isn’t important to the other person. That’s not a bad thing and they’re not being mean. So, next time you want to do an act of kindness for a friend, family or colleague notice what they give their time and energy to. Notice what they are proud of and when they feel satisfied about doing a good job. It is when we help others in these areas that we notice them, and they notice our kindness. Just for fun, make it a mission this month to do one act of kindness each week for someone where you replicate what they do, but you get to it first. It could be folding a towel the way they like it, opening or closing blinds or washing the dishes. Simple acts. Then see what happens.