“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
In the last few posts, we have explored what kindness is and its power and benefits on you and the world. In this post we will explore ways to integrate the practice of giving and receiving kindness into your life.
Kindness begins with yourself.
Be kind to yourself when you take a misstep. Notice if you judge yourself for making mistakes or not doing something according to a preconceived notion of how it should look. As you become more aware of that, practice letting the judgment go. Find something to appreciate about yourself instead. Take some time each day for yourself. Something that you enjoy or feels nurturing.
Begin with compassion, then with kindness.
Recognize that we all have challenges before making a an assumption or judgment about another person or situation. Sometimes an act of kindness is simply holding back our criticism and/or trying to see things from the other persons perception. I love the quote “Never judge someone unless you have walked a mile in their shoes.” Understand that everyone is doing the best they can. Look for something that you can compliment in others.
Be of service to others.
Do at least one kind act for someone close to you, an acquaintance or stranger or yourself every day. It can be as simple as bringing a coworker a cup of coffee or giving a stranger a smile.
Choose to be kind even when others are not.
Being kind is a choice you have every day. It can be difficult being kind when the another person is not being kind. Yet, being unkind back can often lead to ongoing conflict. Saying or doing something kind can reverse a situation.
Give for the sake of giving.
Don’t expect anything in return. When you give kindness expecting thanks or some form of credit, it is self-serving and some form of making the recipient feel indebted. The rewards are better when we are kind without expecting any payback.
I heard a story about a little boy from a family who had very little money. He really wanted fishing lures but had no money to buy them. This anonymous person bought a handful of fishing lures and a package of gummy worms and left them in the family mailbox along with a note saying they were free. The boy was thrilled, and the anonymous person was filled with happiness at seeing the boys joy. Now that is kindness!
Practice being kind more often.
Like everything, we become kinder the more we do it. Random acts of kindness get easier. Do one small, kind thing each day for someone and pay attention to the impact you make. Notice the impact of kindness on the other person. And notice how it makes you feel. Being kind is its own reward. It will make you feel lighter, kinder and notice more opportunities to be kind.
Kindness is contagious.
Be the one who shows kindness every day and others will begin to do the same. Be the boss, leader, coworker, family member or neighbor who people follow your actions in kindness. When you are kind to someone, it make them feel good. They will naturally spread that.
When you do an act of kindness for someone or it’s done for you, it is remembered. Maybe you were shy in college and you had a staff member compliment you on your looks. Do you still remember the unexpected kindness? How do you want to be remembered?
I remember as a child visiting my aunts. I was impressed with the kindness they showed me. I don’t remember the details, but I do remember the feeling that I had around them.
Studies have shown that when we do kind things it makes us happier and increases our self-love and respect. Doing some act of kindness daily can put you in a better mood more often. Go ahead and do some random small act of kindness today!
This week, observe the role of kindness in your life. Contemplate ways that you can include the practice of kindness on an ongoing basis. Which of the above suggestions appeal to you? How might you incorporate them into your life.