I recently lost my mum and I am so sad. Some days I can’t shake off my sadness and other days I can thankfully make it through the day. In the weeks leading up to her passing when she was first diagnosed as terminal and then in the many weeks after she passed. I have been shown so much kindness and it has left me feeling really humbled. It has also made me stop and think about why kindness is important.
This period in my life is really making me re-evaluate and question myself and my actions towards others. How kind am I? What can I do to show kindness to others? How can I ever express how truly grateful I am to my many friends and family who have showered me with kindness. How??
I guess the only answer I can come up with is…..”Do unto others”
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets” Matthew 7:12
There Are Many Benefits To Being Kind
Indeed there are many benefits to being kind. Some of these are
- You will develop more friendships
- Being kind may have many important health benefits such as lowering inflammation, boosting your immune system, and may reduce blood pressure.
- Showing kindness can be good for your mental health as acts of kindness can reduce anxiety.
- Being kind may even mean you live longer
It’s great that showing kindness towards others can have many important benefits. BUT I think that real kindness needs to come from a selfless attitude. I think we all need to be kind just because it’s important to be kind. Full stop.
Kindness should come naturally and it should be our first instinct. It’s so easy to be kind to the sweet but not so easy to be kind to the sours of this world. You know the ones I mean. The people who cut you off when you’re driving. The ones who push in front of you at the supermarket. The grumpy, rude, mean-spirited people we come across in our everyday life. Yep, it’s not easy to be kind to them, sigh!
Why Are People So Unkind?
I have a really sweet friend who has an amazing ability to see things from the point of view of others. I have learnt a lot from her. She has this gift of understanding why people behave the way they do. On many occasions, I have expressed my irritation to her about certain people’s behaviour and she has gently explained that maybe they are going through a rough time. Sometimes people are unkind because…
They Are Afraid Of Change
Sometimes people who are afraid of change can feel threatened and not in control. And this can cause them to behave in a mean way.
They Have Poor Self Esteem
When people are brought up to believe that they are not good enough, they can often behave rudely as a way of trying to prove to others that they deserve to be seen and respected.
They Feel Vulnerable
If people have been abused in their lives. They may feel the need to act tough and aggressive in order to squash any feelings of vulnerability.
They May Have Personal Problems
Sometimes people may have personal problems that are causing them to feel incredibly anxious and overwhelmed. Anxiety can make people lash out in anger or cause them to behave rudely or in a controlling manner.
How Can We Be Kinder
There are many ways we can all be kinder. All it takes is a conscious decision and a change of mindset. We can CHOOSE to be kind no matter what. Here are some suggestions for ways we can be kinder. Kinder to others, kinder to ourselves, and even kinder to our world.
This is an easy starting point on your journey to be kinder. Just give someone a friendly smile next time you are at the shops, going for a walk, or running an errand. Years ago I was at the supermarket and I had just been to the doctor who had given me some very welcomed news. I was pregnant! And I was so happy that I couldn’t stop smiling. I smiled at an elderly gentleman in the Dairy aisle and he said to me words I will never forget. He said,” Thank you so much for smiling at me, you have no idea how much that meant to me”.
I was taken aback, firstly I was glad that he appreciated my smile but then I felt almost felt guilty because my smile came from my own good news. Would I have smiled at him if I hadn’t received this news? I hope so.
2. Surprise someone with a visit or phone call
Don’t assume that people are too busy, go ahead and visit or make that phone call. Just to be sure you’re not interrupting or catching someone at a bad time you could always send them a quick text beforehand. Then they will be able to let you know if it’s a good time or not. They will also be happy to know that you are thinking of them and you might even be able to reschedule for another time.
3. Use a kind voice
Always try and use a kind voice, even if sometimes you might have to fake it because that person is irritating you. At least you know that you tried and I have found that on many occasions a kind word can turn away anger.
4. Drop off a care package
During COVID lockdown I had some friends drop me off care packages. I thanked them profusely but I don’t know if they will ever fully know how much I appreciated this and how truly grateful I am for their kind gesture.
5. Drop off a meal
When my mum was dying in hospital, the last thing I felt like doing was cooking (I could barely eat!) A couple of friends dropped off meals at different times and it was literally a lifesaver! So if you know anyone who has just had a baby, lost someone or they are unwell. I really encourage you to make them a meal. It doesn’t have to be fancy so don’t stress, go ahead and make them a meal. This act of kindness will never be forgotten. Trust me!
6. Be A Good Listener
Sounds easy enough but being a good listener can be harder than you think. Next time your friend, co-worker, or loved one is talking to you. Remember to try hard to really listen without forming mental judgments. Think before responding and choose your words carefully, making sure that they are positive and helpful.
7. Self Care
That’s right be kind to yourself too! I have endless patience for others but when it comes to me I don’t. I want to be all good to go quick smart, I don’t like being sad or annoyed and I get really frustrated with myself when I can’t snap out of it!
Self-care is something that I struggle with but I am starting to make it a priority and be consistent. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help when we are struggling. It’s also vital that we eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, drink water, and do things that we enjoy and that will revitalize us. Spend time with good kind friends and family. These are all simple ways that we can show kindness to ourselves.
8. Be Aware Of Others
As you go about your day-to-day try to be conscious of others around you. If you are on public transport consider whether or not someone who is standing may need the seat you are sitting on more than you do.
When you open a door and walk through do you check to see if there is someone behind you who you could hold the door open for?
These are some small gestures of kindness you can do, but sadly don’t expect to always be acknowledged or thanked. At least you know that you tried!
It’s important to release your past hurts and feelings of anger towards someone who has wronged you. Sadly if you don’t forgive you will be stuck and unable to move on past the pain. The sense of relief you will feel after forgiveness will result in you becoming a much kinder person.
10. Say Thank You
One of the simplest ways to repay kindness is to simply say thank you. We teach these two simple meaningful words to our children when they are young. But sometimes we might forget to use them ourselves. So don’t forget to say thank you to anyone who does a service for you or assists you in any way.
A Few Final Thoughts
Kindness is a choice and it will become more natural for us to respond with kindness the more we practice it. Remember that although you may not always be repaid back with kindness, it should still be our first response. Because acts of kindness will always make the world a much happier place!