“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” – Henry James
“Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.” – Confucius
Kindness is often a pretty simple thing to spread in the world.
But we often forget about it. Or don’t remember how it can help us all.
Three things that I like to keep in mind and that help me to try being a kinder person are these:
- I get what I give. Yep, some people will be ungrateful, miserable and not reciprocating no matter what you may do. But most people will over time treat you as you treat them.
- By being kinder to others I am more likely to be kinder to myself. It may sound a bit odd but my experience is that when I am kinder towards others then my self-esteem goes up and I think more highly about myself.
- It simply makes my own little world a nicer and happier place to live in.
So how can you start spreading the kindness in your daily life? Here are 15 ways to do it.
Pick one of the them that resonates with you and start spreading the kindness today.
1. Express your gratitude.
Think about what you can be grateful for about someone in your life. Maybe that he is a good listener, that he often is quick to help out or that he always adds great songs to a Spotify playlist. Or simply that he held up the door for you.
Then express that gratitude in a simple “thank you!” or in a sincere sentence or two.
2. Replace the judgments.
No one likes to be judged. And the more you judge other people the more you tend to judge yourself. So despite the temporary benefit of deriving pleasure from the judgments it is not a good or smart long-term habit.
3. Replace the unconstructive criticism.
Try encouragement instead of excessive criticism. It helps people to both raise their self-esteem and to do a better job. And it will make things more fun and more light-hearted in the long run.
4. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
It is quite easy to resort to unkindness when you see things just from your perspective. Two questions that help me to see and to better understand other viewpoints are:
- How would I think and feel it if I were in his or her shoes?
- What parts of this person can I see in myself?
5. Recall how people’s kindness made you feel.
Just sit down for a few minutes and try to recall one time or a few times when other people’s kindness really touched you and helped you out.
Then think about how you can do those very same things for someone in your life.
6. Express kindness for something you may often take for granted.
It is easy to remember and to feel motivated to express kindness when someone is having a rough time or have just finished an important project.
But also remember to express kindness for how someone continues to put so much love into the dinners you eat. Or for being on time every day and doing their job well and keeping deadlines.
7. Hide a surprising and kind note.
Leave a small note with a loving or encouraging sentence in your partner’s or child’s lunchbox, hat, tea-container or book that he or she is reading right now. That minute of your time will put a smile on her face and joy and motivation in her heart.
8. Just be there.
Listen – without thinking about something else – when someone needs to vent. Just be there fully with your attention. Or have a conversation and help someone find his or her way out of fear and to a more constructive and grounded perspective.
9. Remember the small acts of kindness too.
Let someone into your lane while driving. Let someone skip ahead of you in a line if he is in a real hurry. Hold up the door for someone or ask if they need help when you see them standing around with a map and a confused look.
10. Give someone an uplifting gift.
Someone in your life may have a bit of a tough time right now. Then send him or her an inspirational book or movie. Or simply send an email with a link to something inspiring that you have found like a blog, article or a comic.
11. Help someone out practically.
Give them a hand when moving or with making dinner or arrangements before a party. If they need information, then help out by googling it or by asking knowledgeable people that you know.
12. Help the people in your life see how they make a difference in their lives.
When you talk to someone about his or her day or what has been going on lately then make sure to point out how he or she also has spread kindness and given value. People are often unaware of the positive things they do or they minimize them in their own minds.
So help them to see themselves in a more positive light and to improve their own self-esteem.
13. Remember the 3 reasons for kindness at the start of this article.
It will help you to be kinder even when you may not always feel much like it. If you like, write those reasons down on a piece of paper and put that note where you can see it every day.
14. Pay it forward.
When someone does something kind for you – no matter how big or small – then try to pay that forward by being kind to someone else as soon as you can.
15. Be kinder towards yourself.
Then you will naturally treat other people with more kindness too. It is truly a win-win habit.
A simple way to start being kinder toward yourself is to each evening write down 5 things you appreciate about yourself and about what you have done that day in a journal.
This post first appeared on The Positivity Blog.