“Kindness is more than deeds. It is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch. It is anything that lifts another person”. -Plato
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Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
Being kind actually increases our own level of happiness. Our world has gone through a lot of change in the past year and we each have the ability to be kind and try to make it a better place than it was when we woke up.
There are hundreds of websites out there that suggest ways to spread kindness:
- Buy a stranger’s coffee
- Find opportunities to give someone a compliment
- Hold the door for someone
- Leave a generous tip when eating out
- Donate your time
- Grocery shop for a neighbor
- Smile (now that we can see people’s mouths again)
The list of kind things you can do goes on and on…but I think most of us know what constitutes being kind to someone means.
I have my own personal “kindness compass” that I use to spread kindness, but no matter what list you read or what good deed you choose to exercise, I believe there are four tips to practice when being kind to others (and to yourself).
- Act with good intent: If you are only being kind for gratitude in return, that is the wrong reason. You might be kind to a friend or a stranger and get the opposite response from them that you were expecting. However, if your intent was to be kind no matter the outcome, that is key. You can’t control others reactions and some people, are just jerks.
- Be authentic: Authenticity is about confidence and staying true to yourself. Authenticity is defined as “not false or copies; genuine; real”. Be real with your kindness.
- Try to see things from another’s perspective: You don’t know what someone else is going through, we all have our own battles. The car on the road in front of you is driving 10 miles under the speed limit. You are frustrated and begin honking, swerving past them and flipping them off. Little did you know that was a 16-year-old, driving to school for the first time without her parents in the car.
- This can go for yourself as well. When it comes to seeing things from a different perspective in regard to being kind with yourself, don’t beat yourself up for sleeping in an extra hour vs getting your workout in. You were being kind to yourself by giving yourself the sleep that you needed to get through the busy day ahead of you, you can always work out tonight or tomorrow.
- Breathe: If you find yourself getting angry, overwhelmed, frustrated, or wanting to be unkind…just pause and breathe. This has been my saving grace many, many days. Just take a moment, take a deep breath, and then think of the bullets above.
Sometimes it feels easier to be unkind…
Although preaching kindness is great, the truth is, sometimes it is really hard to be kind, especially if you are having a shitty day!
I think we can all agree with that. Let’s face it, sometimes it feels easier to be unkind – especially when we are not mentally or emotionally in a great place and we feel like the world is against us.
I believe everyone is entitled to express what they are feeling, but that doesn’t mean at the cost of hurting others or yourself.
If you are having a bad/sad/stressful day, you have every right to feel whatever emotions you are feeling but being unkind to others (or yourself) doesn’t serve you in the long run.
Humans are hard wired for compassion; it is deep inside all of us and we should all try to tap into that as much as we can.
Sure, it’s unrealistic to think for the rest of your life, you will not ever say another unkind thing or be unkind to someone, but being kind actually takes less work than being un-kind. Like with most things, the more you practice, the easier it gets.
With so much going on in the world and each of us having our own personal matters affecting our lives, it’s expected that we will be overwhelmed from time to time and we will have to make a real conscious effort to be kind, but the reality is, it does feel good when you practice kindness.
You never know, just simply saying, “Have a nice day”, when you see someone, or how smiling at a stranger could change someone’s whole day, and maybe you’ll receive that smile from someone and it changes your day.
Remember, You Got This!
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