When was the last time you were genuinely kind to someone? Today, yesterday or … can’t remember?
If you have made someone feel better by being kind, a big thank you. May your tribe increase!
We all live day in day out, putting our best efforts to keep on top of everything. We work hard to get that promotion, pay loan installments on time, bring up sensible kids, keep relationships strong. Everyone is fighting some personal battle and the least we can do is be kind and not judge them.
And before you begin thinking that ‘I have been kind and understanding but people did not always appreciate what I did or said,’ unfortunately some people will always be ungrateful and miserable.
You can’t really do much about that, but what you can do is believe that over time, people will see who you are, what you really want to do and will reciprocate your goodwill.
Start with yourself first. You can’t give others what you don’t have. Be kind to yourself and begin spreading happiness and kindness with your family, your friends, colleagues, neighbors, strangers on the street. And then take a step further.
Here are some easy ways to make the world a little kinder, and do your bit.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” —Stephen R. Covey
Whenever I see a political debate on a news channel, this is how it usually pans out – a person makes an accusation. The person being targeted interrupts and makes a counter-accusation. Then, the news anchor listens for a minute or two and tries to quiet them down (with much effort and several high pitched requests). Don’t be like these guys.
We all have certain colleagues or friends who seem to get a larger share of problems than most of us!
And then when they come to us to vent their woes, we sit and nod along, but don’t really offer something valuable. I know we all have our problems too but the least we can do is give our full attention to what they are saying.
Try it and people will begin to value you as an understanding and kind person.
Being grateful is an antidote to self-loathing and feeling ‘not enough.’ When we look at the things we have, wonderful people in our lives, the education we got, a roof over our heads – we must really count our blessings.
Out of so many things, just pick one. Say, your close friends stood by your side in a difficult time. Others around could not understand what you were going through but they did. They really cared about you, they told you not to give up and be brave. That made you believe in yourself and now when you look back, you really thank them for their compassion and support.
Now, think of a way to reciprocate what they did for you. Nothing fancy is required here. Drop a message saying ‘Thank you for ….’ in a sentence or two. It will do wonders.
If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. – Maya Angelou
A smile on a face is the best ornament. How do you feel when you see people smile? Unhappy, sad, jealous? Nah.. not possible. When we see someone smile, we can’t help but smile too. What a gift it is. Smile and your face gets a good workout and your inner world is relieved of the anxious thoughts instantly.
It is not very difficult to find joy in our life. Think of a happy memory, do a small act of kindness…
I was at a departmental store and the kid next to me was short of 5 bucks. I just gave him 5 bucks and his face just lit up, a smile so bright and genuine. I felt so happy. 🙂
If you get a chance to make a small change or make those around you happy, do it. It will feel soooo good.
Recall How Others’ Kindness Made You Feel
We feel that the people around us are rather mean and only care about themselves. And to a certain extent that might appear to be true. Most people would rather keep driving than help an accident victim. And this reminds me of the time when I met with a road accident.
I was lying unconscious for a few minutes and several people had gathered to look at me. Out of those, two people came forward and helped me get up. Offered me a glass of water and helped me reach a hospital.
And till this day, I remember this act of kindness. If they had not come forward and helped me then, the delay might have aggravated the injuries.
I am sure you can recall an incident or a situation when other people’s kindness helped you out. Take that as an inspiration and think about how you can be kind to someone in your life.
Hide a Kind Note
Now, who does not like surprises? And you don’t need a reason to surprise someone and make their day.
Keep a small note with an encouraging or loving message in the book your partner is currently reading or in your kid’s lunchbox. Wouldn’t they feel wonderful when they realize that you care about them, that you make efforts to make their life a little more beautiful?
And how long does it take to write a thoughtful message? Less than a minute.
Think of the smile that you will be putting on their face. Aren’t you already smiling? 🙂
Put Yourself in the Other Person’s Shoes
Say you are driving to work and the traffic is moving slowly. Suddenly, a car moves close to yours, and finding a little space changes lanes to merge with faster traffic. What would you think? ‘’What an idiot. Couldn’t he wait a little?’’ Fair enough; but you would not know if he was getting late for an interview or had to reach somewhere important.
In this case, seeing things from not ‘just your perspective’ would have been helpful. Ask yourself these questions to better understand somebody else’s viewpoints:
- What I would have done if I were in his or her shoes?
- Am I perfect?
- Do I always behave as others expect?
When you honestly answer them, you will see your ego melt and become more considerate.
Express Kindness for Something You Take for Granted
When are you more likely to say thanks and express kindness to someone at work? More likely if someone pitches in to help when an important deadline is looming and you are really pressed for resources. But you would not display same gratefulness if the workload was routine and somebody offered help.
Being grateful for simple things in life can help us being kind.
Do you get wholesome dinner on time? Such a blessing it is but we think of it as something that everyone gets. No, not everybody is that lucky. About one in nine people on earth do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life.
Express kindness for things like well-ironed clothes, delicious food. Your house does not automatically get cleaned. There are people who do these things. Thank them, spread some love and kindness.
Choose Encouraging Words
Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much. – Blaise Pascal
Oh, the enticing world of gossip! So much to give wings to our wild imagination and how we want those juicy details to never stop coming.
Now just think if you were the person being gossiped about. And somehow you knew what people were talking about you. Would it make you feel good?
When we say something nice about someone, when we share positive thoughts, we feel something inside of us say ‘That’s nice, keep doing it.’
Gossip can be really hurtful and helps no one. You don’t want to be the reason that somebody feels sad. Pleasant words cost little and are worth much more.
I am sure that you see kindness as a force that can really change people, and make this world a little more caring and a whole lot better. So, how are you contributing?