Do you ever think about being kind? We assume it’s automatic but the fact is, some of us (myself included) have to really make an effort sometimes. I was reading an article recently about what it means to be kind, and I decided to write this handy list. Note to self…
Telephone a lonely person – Or at least send a text message/email. I know, I know. These people can be real downers. Do it anyway, because your phone call can be the reason they get out of bed, get a shower and leave the house. This is a good thing.
Hold the door for someone – This requires you to be aware of the people around you. And smile when you do it.
Fill the paper or change the toner in the copier – I am in awe of people who can change the toner. I always end up wearing it.
Buy someone a cup of Joe – Coffee is the greatest resource known to man. Share it.
Help a disabled or elderly person – Have patience, because you will one day be elderly yourself.
Give your small change to that homeless person – It’s weighing you down anyway, right?
Shop for someone – Know someone who is sick or has had an accident? Going to the store for bread and milk can be a lifesaver. Here is a bonus – don’t take their money!
Offer your place in line at the checkout – Does the person behind you have two items, and you have a cart full? Let them cut in front of you. It’s just the right thing to do.
Drive with kindness – Instead of cursing and waving the naughty bird at another driver, stop and put yourself behind their wheel for a moment (figuratively, of course). Are they lost? Are they distracted? Are their screaming kids in the car? Maybe they just lost a job or a loved one. Try out some empathy; it fits every one of us nicely.
Smile and pay someone a sincere compliment – This one is self-explanatory. If they’re shy they might be struggling with social interaction. Who knows what you may discover if you can draw them out of their shell. Be friendly and optimistic.
Express gratitude – Say thank you. And while you’re at it, use the manners your mother tried to teach you and throw a “please” or “excuse me” in, just for good measure.
Donate to a disaster fund – They make it easy to give these days.
Mow the grass or clean the gutters – Old people dig it when you do this.
Grow your hair – Locks of Love, baby!
Pass up that great parking space near the store – You really could use the exercise anyway.
Schedule acts of kindness – Calendar reminders are great aren’t they?
Minimize judgment – Focus on wanting to help others instead of spending your time being critical of other people. Work on being positive and compassionate. Kindness means giving people the benefit of the doubt.
Be present – Sometimes we forget that the gift of kindness to another person is often just to be with them in the moment. Listen. No, really listen, and hear what it is they have to say. Look into their eyes and let them speak. You don’t always have to solve their problems, but by just listening to them without interrupting, you can often allow them to find their own solutions.
Foster a pet – Or pet-sit for a friend. Often the stress of finding a safe place to leave a pet can mean the difference between someone taking a vacation and not going at all, or having surgery versus putting it off.
Share – Baking cookies? Double the batch and treat the folks in your office, or a neighbor.
Be thoughtful – Find a cute notepad at the card shop? Buy a second one and give it to your sister-in-law.
Forgive somebody – Not because they deserve it, but because you deserve to stop carrying around the baggage that comes with being wronged.
When you need help, help someone else – Shifting the focus away from your own issues can often help to put what ails us in perspective.
Think before you speak – I’m still working on this one. Pause. Reflect. Walk away if you have to.
Don’t be a “know-it-all” – Let someone else take the lead, and likewise, the glory.
Stop practicing selective kindness – Don’t neglect being kind to someone else just because you think they can cope without your support or understanding.
Ask for nothing in return – Kindness comes with no strings attached and places no conditions on anything.
Don’t be kind for the sake of getting what you want – Kindness is not about self-interest or control. And being a people pleaser is not kindness.
Be kind to yourself – Take time to become more self-aware and use what you’ve learned to be kinder to you. Remember how other people’s kindness makes you feel, and then do that. For yourself.
Remember that your kids are watching and learning from you – Teach them by setting a good example.
“Life’s most persistent and nagging question is ‘What are you doing for others?’” – Martin Luther King Jr.