While we are often encouraged to be successful and to strive for perfection, one thing that seems to be lacking in a modern discussion is the endeavour of being kind. Kindness is a tool of compassion that should be utilised not only for others but for yourself as well. Research has shown that those who extend empathy to themselves are able to live fuller and richer lives with a host of benefits for their personal and professional careers.
Why Should I be Kind to Myself?
Research has shown that those who are actively kind find themselves to be more motivated and successful over prolonged periods of time. They forgive themselves when they don’t achieve what they were meant to do and attempt to learn from their mistakes. Having self-compassion and enacting kindness for yourself has been proven to help with adapting to necessary and positive changes.
Changing how you view yourself and your emotions can have an incredible impact on your daily life. Learning how to reframe how you hold yourself accountable is key to encouraging kindness in yourself. Instead of berating yourself, asking yourself simple questions that reinforce searching for the source of your negative emotions and what you have learned can transform how you feel about yourself. Having kindness for yourself allows you to acknowledge your feelings and slowly accept them. This, in turn, helps you make observations that aid you in your goals.
Being kind to yourself is understanding that you are a human being and that we are filled with many flaws but many wonderful things as well. Emotions and feelings that aren’t always positive make us who we are. Giving ourselves room to make mistakes and grow from them is an important part of self-compassion. As long as you are doing the best you can every day, nothing more can be asked of you.
How Can I Be Kind?
Thinking of ways to be kind that are creative and meaningful can be tough. There are plenty of ways that you can be kind to people that can transform someone’s day. Kindness breeds positivity and allows for people to spread more joy in the world. Making a conscious effort to be kind is something that has multiple benefits for individuals and society as a whole.
Emotional gifts like hugs and express empathy are wonderful ways of expressing kindness for others. This could include activities like babysitting for someone you care for free and allowing them to do their shopping or have needed alone time. It could be making them meals when you know they have been working long hours and haven’t had time to prepare food for themselves. If you can’t cook, bring them a coffee.
Other acts of kindness could include visiting them or even calling them to say you are thinking about them. Sending someone you love a handwritten letter or card is a true act of love. Spending time to think about words, write them down, then send them is more meaningful than a text you have just sent without thinking. Helping them around the house by doing simple chores is something that can matter a lot to people. Taking the time to try and improve their mood and situation is an incredible gift to give someone.
Giving someone the opportunity to be heard, for them to express themselves is important too. Listening to someone without interrupting encourages people to share with you and solidifies that you care about what they have to say. Giving someone a voice can lift many burdens and creates joy in many people. Expressing your gratitude for having someone you love in your life is critical as well. Ensure they know how much you love and appreciate them.
These are just some ways that you can change someone’s life by showing them kindness and love. They don’t have to be large acts but can be small, deliberate actions.
Finding inspiration for kindness or knowing where to begin has been made easier by tools provided by traditional formats and technology. One tool that is downloadable as an application is an app called Kindness. A free application, Kindness encourages people to form positive, kind habits that improve their quality of life.
Kindness treats this action as an exercise and helps create and curate routines centred around kindness and love. Beneficial society, it has suggestions to help you interact with others in a kind manner as well as progress celebrations. Kindness also features a compassion challenge which includes engaging in ten acts of kindness over ten consecutive days. This app reminds us of the importance of being kind to others as well as ourselves.
Henry James Garrett has released a book in 2020 that has revolutionised how we interact with others. Entitled ‘This Book Will Make You Kinder’ his themes and narratives are interspersed between his trademark animal cartoons that have made him Instagram famous. Garrett’s mission is to make the world more empathetic, creating kinder people as they learn of others’ situations.
A champion of moral kindness, Garett builds on his metaethics background to explore the sources of empathy and, indeed, its limitations and how we can become better and kinder. Arguably, engaging with this book will only encourage us to continue on our paths of kindness and to find empathy for others in situations that may be alien to us.
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.