In an effort to spread a little more kindness, I created a public art project, called the compliment project, that anyone with access to a printer and tape can participate in. Within a week of starting the project it spread internationally and was featured in The New York Times, ABC News, and San Francisco Chronicle. People around the world have been sharing images of the posters via the hashtag #thecomplimentproject on Instagram and Twitter.
In this instructable, I will explain what the compliment project is, how to participate in it, and other ways to spread kindness in your community.
Because we can all use a few more hugs and smiles now (and always).
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Step 1: What Is the Compliment Project?
Inspired by those posters that advertise baby sitters or piano lessons and are taped on street poles with paper slip phone numbers at the bottom that you can tear off and take with you, I created compliment posters with the same structure.
The compliments include:
Your smile is beautiful.
You are perfect as you are.
Our world is better because you are in it.
You light up the room.
The compliment is written in large text in the top 3/4 of the page and then repeated on the small paper slips below. Passerby are encourage to tear off the slips and share them with friends. The posters don't feature any emails, phone numbers or websites. The only thing they do have to identify them with the project is the hashtag #thecomplimentproject.
After designing the posters, I printed 1,000 at a local copy shop and invited my friends to join me over the course of the week posting the compliments around San Francisco.
Step 2: How to Participate and Spread Kindness in Your Own Community
The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, so I created a website thecomplimentproject.org where anyone can download and print the posters for their own communities. In addition to being available in English, you can also download the posters in Spanish, French, Turkish, Portuguese and Italian. I also attached all of these posters to this instructable step!
If your language is not available, please reach out to me by commenting on this instructable or sending me a PM - if you can help translate, I can create the posters in your language!
Step 3: Other Ways to Spread Kindess
There are so many ways to spread kindness in your community!
One of my favorites is volunteering. The website VolunteerMatch.org can help connect you to volunteer opportunities in your area based on your specific interests. I'm also a big fan of libraries, which tend to have plenty of volunteer opportunities from teaching youth how to read and write to helping people prepare resumes and cover letters. Whatever you are passionate about there is likely to be a volunteer opportunity right up your alley!
The same goes for donating to local charities! The website CharityNavigator.org is another great resource.
Getting involved in local government is also a great way to make an impact. Just by attending town halls, you can get a better sense of what programs and initiatives are happening in your area, and which ones you can get more involved in. If there is an issue you are passionate about, you can also contact your representative - to find your local representative, here is a handy website.
I'd love to hear more ideas of how to spread kindness in the comment section so I can add them to this step!
Above all, small things like smiling at a stranger, being there for your friends and family, or giving an extra big tip at your favorite restaurant or coffee shop can have a huge impact. Once a ripple of kindness starts, you never know where it will end. :)