Kindness seems to be lacking in people more and more with each passing year. Now, it may be the case that people are becoming more apathetic toward each other, or perhaps we’re just exposed to unkindness more easily nowadays via social media platforms and the 24/7 news cycles. Either way, there’s no doubt that most of us could do a little more or make more of an effort to be kind daily, and find more ways to be kinder. Being kind can have a ripple effect that can literally change someone’s day, and who wouldn’t want to know that they were the reason that someone’s day got better in some way?
However, being kinder can occasionally be easier said than done as we perhaps subconsciously judge people based on their opinions, neglect to think about another person’s feelings, or have a tendency to put ourselves or our needs first. But all is not lost as there are plenty of ways to be kinder that everyone can do more or less every day, and if everyone put these ways into practice as much as possible, well the world could be a much greater place. So, if you’re looking for ways to be kinder, you’ve certainly come to the right place – check out the article below to learn what things you can do.
7 ways to be kinder
1. Think before you speak
You know that old saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything,” well, that’s not just a tired, irrelevant cliché. It’s as accurate today as it always has been and is one of the easiest ways to be kinder every day. In fact, since speaking takes more effort than not speaking, you literally have to put energy into saying something unkind, so there’s no excuse to do it. Your words can have a far more significant effect than you realize; an off the cuff comment about someone’s appearance could stay with them for years, or a jokey remark about a person’s achievement or a topic they are interested in could stop them from enjoying that thing in the future. Words hurt, and by saying the wrong thing, you could ruin someone’s passion, knock their confidence, or affect their self-esteem. Always think before you speak, and never forget that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything.
2. Be less judgmental
This one can be tricky because, for most people, they rarely realize they are doing it. We mostly do subconsciously judge other people, but this subtle judgment can lead us to treat people unfairly or unkindly. Make an extra effort to not let petty judgments get in the way of how you view someone, how you treat them or how you speak to them. It’s not always easy, especially if you have particular judgments drummed into you as a kid by your parents, but do everything you can to let go of those negatives feelings. People having a different opinion to you, voting a different way, caring about issues you find boring, liking people you don’t like, eating food you don’t enjoy, believing in things you don’t believe in, and so on; these are all areas which we can easily judge someone when they don’t deserve it.
3. Do little acts
Every day, you will see people everywhere who need a little extra help in some way, offering a way to be kinder. Perhaps an elderly person needs help crossing the road, maybe your neighbor has forgotten to put their bins out, and the garbage truck is coming, maybe someone is sitting on the street corner in desperate need of a meal, or even someone in front of you has dropped something out of their bag, and they haven’t noticed. There a hundred different scenarios that could be going on at any given moment, and you can go out of your way to help out these people for all of them. Most of the time, these little acts of kindness cost you little more than a couple of minutes, but you can impact each person you help. If you’re not sure if someone needs help, there’s no harm in asking them – it’s better to ask and find out what you can do to help rather than leave them alone.
4. Don’t react to unkind people
When someone is rude, instinctively you want to be rude back, you want to defend yourself, or you want to make them feel how they’re making you feel. Well, don’t. As hard as it is in the moment, if someone is being rude to you, don’t give it back, don’t stoop down to that level, and don’t add more hate into the situation. It’s important to learn how to deal with negative people. In this kind of scenario, the person you are dealing with may just be an awful person who enjoys being rude or causing problems. However, most of the time, the person is actually usually good. They’re just having a terrible day. This is where giving people the benefit of the doubt can help keep a situation calm and keep you in the mindset of being kind. When someone misbehaves, stop and think; maybe they’ve just lost their job, perhaps a loved one has just died, or they’re dealing with a lot of stress at home. Whatever is happening to them, showing a little patience and kindness can help them when they need it the most.
5. Be kind to yourself
Being kind can often start with yourself. If you’re not kind to yourself, how can you be kind to other people? Finding ways to be kinder isn’t just about other people. Those negative thoughts and opinions you have about yourself can fester into anger and worthlessness. These kinds of strong negative emotions can make you lash out at other people or make you speak to them how you talk to yourself. Be kind to yourself, be gentle, be patient, and understand, which will translate to you being able to express the same kind of emotions to other people. Find yourself continually being unkind to yourself. There may be a more significant issue at hand that you need to deal with – don’t be afraid to reach out to a trusted friend or even a professional to help you learn to be good to yourself. It’s so vital that you are.
6. Don’t be around unkind people
Like being kind to yourself, you need to also make sure the people in your life are kind themselves. If you spend time with people, whether they are friends or family, these traits can rub off on you, pick up bad habits, or start to see unkindness as normal, and thus you copy what you see and hear without even knowing it. Once these types of cycles or habits form, they can be hard to break, and the longer it goes on, the worse it gets. Not only will you be influenced, but this could become even more serious if you start to influence other people, or even have children and treat them poorly because of the people you associate with; only be around kind people, learn good habits from good people, and always ensure that the people in your life are kind to you also, you deserve it – don’t feel bad about cutting people out of your life that are not kind to you or other people.
7. Vocalize your feelings
How well does it feel when someone tells you they appreciate you, or they love you, maybe they compliment you, or say they are proud of you. These types of vocal affirmations we get from people can brighten up your whole day, perhaps even your entire week, so make sure you are doing the same in return to people. Tell your friends how much you love and appreciate them, the same with family members if it’s applicable, thank the people you work with if they help you, compliment a colleague’s outfit or work project, and so on. Hearing words of gratitude, appreciation, love, or something similar gives everyone an instant buzz, and since words are free, why stop at only the people you know? Compliment the person at the cash register when you do your shopping, thank your mail carrier when they deliver your post, tell the bus driver that you appreciate the work they do. These are all examples of where saying a few words to strangers in your life can help improve their whole day and is one of the easiest ways to be kinder.
Kindness is free (in most cases anyway). Knowing that you could be having such a positive effect on someone’s day is excellent motivation for ensuring that you are being kinder and more aware of other people. With so many ways to be kinder at such little cost to yourself, stop making excuses and start taking action. Unfortunately, the world lacks kindness in so many ways, but you have the power to change yourself and how you personally deal with and treat people; this is the best you can do, and the world will be a better place because of it.