Being Kinder To Others

Let’s take a look at Being Kinder to Others! In my last post I suggested that we should give ourselves the gift of kindness. In this post I want to look at various ways in which we can give others the gift of kindness.

When we start being kinder to others, our world changes. The more you act in kindness, the more opportunities to be kind you’ll notice. What makes this even more special is how this eventually translates to your own life as well. For now, though, let’s focus on what you can do for others. 

Show Your Support

Sometimes the kindest thing we can do in a situation is very small. Just showing up and giving your support when someone else is going through tough times can make a giant difference to them. There’s nothing like knowing you have someone in your corner, rooting for you.

Choose a Kind Word

We always have choices as to our response in any given situation. By making a conscious effort to choose the kindest word, we keep the lines of communication open and let the other person know we care about them enough to be kind. Of course, this doesn’t always mean agreeing with what the other person has to say. Keep in mind, even a “no” or a contrary opinion can be delivered with kindness.

Pass It Along

Has someone done something kind for you? Consider how to pass it along. If someone added money to your parking meter, how about doing the same for a stranger who’s meter is about to run out? If you were just given an honest compliment, what compliment can you give in return? Always consider how to keep the kindness going.

Be Mindful of Your Actions

We don’t always stop to think about how our actions impact the people around us. If we’re in a hurry, we might be brusque with someone else, which could very easily be interpreted as being rude or unkind. If we’re behind on a deadline and keep working when someone comes to talk to us, we’re perceived as being disinterested or bored. By being mindful of how your behavior looks to others, you’re being kind by giving them your full attention to what they have to say.

Be More Open-minded

Who should you be kind to? Everybody. When you’re working to be more compassionate to those around you, gender, age, race, the religious background shouldn’t make any difference in your level of kindness. This is perhaps one of the greatest considerations you can ever show anyone. 

Expect Nothing

Genuine kindness never looks for payback. When you’re trying to be kind, don’t try to work through what kind of reciprocal action you’re hoping for in return. Remember, showing kindness has its own rewards. 

Become a Role Model

Realize other people will be watching, especially children. When you make a point to do something kind for someone else, this will be noticed by those around you. How might your act of kindness be a teaching moment? Perhaps you’ll want to take a moment to explain to your child this kindness, so they can better understand the impact of kindness both on themselves and others.

Reach Out When It’s Hard

This one kind of works with the last. Knowing the world is watching means sometimes choosing to be kind even when you don’t feel like it. On the other hand, choosing the harder path should never be wholly contingent of who’s eyes are on you. Kindness performed even when you know it won’t be appreciated or welcomed, is a noble act.  

Perform at Least One Kind Act Daily

Still struggling in being kind? Become more intentional. Make it a daily goal to do something kind for someone else every day. This puts you in a mindset of hunting for opportunities. Once you start looking, you’ll be amazed at how easy they are to find.  

See the Situation from Someone Else’s Point of View

When we notice someone having a bad day, it’s easy to avoid the drama and just walk away. Genuine kindness stops and tries to understand what’s going on. The practice of empathy is telling the other person you care enough to try and see things their way.  

Start Small

Trying to be kind doesn’t have to involve significant, grandiose actions. In fact, some of the best kindnesses are very small. Leaving the car with a full tank of gas for your spouse or replacing the empty toothpaste tube out are kindnesses quite meaningful to the other person.

Know When to Step Back

On occasion, the kindest act is to step away from the situation, especially if you’re becoming angry or frustrated. Rather than lose your temper or say something you might regret, giving someone the gift of a closed mouth and a quick departure.

Reorganise Your Self Talk

What are you saying? We so often keep up an inner dialogue without really paying attention to the words we choose. Later on, we’ll examine the things we say about ourselves. For now, consider what you think about others.

If your first thought on seeing someone is negative, such as, “he’s so boring,” or “gosh she’s stupid,” stop and notice. Kindness begins at the very core of our being. How can you possibly show kindness to someone externally when you have nothing but contempt for them inside? Start taking kind action by changing your thoughts kinder.

Be Objective

Another way we show kindness is through keeping our own emotions in check. When we remain objective in a situation, we allow someone else to express themselves without fear. People appreciate this trait so much that they seek out people they know to be objective when they’re looking for advice or opinions. Offering objectivity in these situations becomes the kindness of giving someone a person they can talk to safely.

Don’t Play into Negativity

We all need a safe place to rant sometimes. However, when someone chooses us to be their sounding board, the kindest thing we can do is to avoid feeding into the negative spiral and sending them lower. This can be hard, especially as it’s so easy to jump onto this particular bandwagon. The problem is, it never helps anyone to do so. This is why it’s so much more important to offer kindness through sympathy and a listening ear than to join in the rant.

Be Nice to Strangers

When you hold a door open for someone or allow them to merge in front of you on the highway, you’re showing kindness to strangers. Think how little it costs you to give a smile or a kind word to a clerk.

Throughout your day, you’d be surprised how many opportunities you have to show kindness to people you’ve never met before and are unlikely to see again. By the same token, you’d be amazed at how much those strangers appreciate these random bits of kindness, much the way you do when someone you don’t know is kind to you.

Keep the Criticism to Yourself

Remember when you were told as a child, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?” The theory still applies. Of course, there are always situations where constructive criticism is warranted, but in most cases, it’s unnecessary. Keep in mind that while you might not like how something was done, the person who did it may be delighted with the result. It’s in situations like this where the kindest thing you can do is to keep your mouth shut.

Be Kinder To Others by Listening More

Speaking of keeping quiet, kindness means listening to what someone else has to say. Learn how to become an active listener, someone who does more than just nod and smile as someone talks. Pay attention to what’s being said. Respond in ways that allow the other person to explain further. Let the other person guide the conversation around to what it is they really want to talk about. You’d be amazed at how much this particular kindness is appreciated by anyone, regardless of age, social situation, or experience.

Ask Questions

Being an active listener can also include asking the right questions. Just in showing an honest interest by looking for further explanation or clarification, or in asking questions designed to allow the other person to share their experience or stories, you’re showing the kindness.

Be Timely

Nothing says you respect someone like showing consideration for their time. This means showing up when you say you’re going to and answering calls, texts, or emails promptly instead of making someone wait a long time for your reply.

Be Kinder To Others By Practicing Being Thoughtful

You might not have thought of it as kindness to remember an anniversary or birthday, but this means a lot to the recipient. By being thoughtful and recalling those important dates in someone else’s life, you’re showing them you care enough about them to remember the small details.

Lose the Gossip

This is another instance where being kind means keeping certain things to yourself. No one likes to be talked about behind their back. If someone comes to you and starts in on a slew of gossip, the kindest thing you can do in this situation is to shut it down there. Tell them you’re not interested, and then keep whatever you’ve inadvertently learned to yourself.

Be Kinder To Others By Apologising and Forgiving

We all screw up, whether we mean to or not. Whatever the situation, even if you’re not entirely sure whose fault the situation was, apologise. Show the kindness of being the bigger person. Similarly, if someone apologises to you, accept what they have to say and move on. Whatever precipitated the apology, on either side, is over now and done with.

Note the Good

How many times do we take notice of the good things around us? By sharing with others the things that leave us feeling joyful, we’re inviting them to enjoy something we see as unique with them. This kindness invites someone else a little closer into your world.

Give Out More Praise

When is the last time you said something about someone else’s accomplishment? It’s kind to notice, and even kinder to give a compliment. Praise people often for their achievements, no matter how small. Nothing makes someone’s day like hearing they’ve done something right.

Be Kinder To Others by Saying Thank You

If someone does something nice for you, the kindest response is so simple: just say “thank you.” You’d be amazed at how much a small politeness can be appreciated.

In Summary….

If you want to be kinder to others then remember that every kindness you show someone else starts here, with the gesture of sympathy. Intentions count for very little. At some point, you’re going to need to get out there and try. No one is asking you to be perfect, and in fact, some kindnesses might even backfire from time to time. The point is, you’re making the effort. In the end, this is what really counts.

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