Be kind, be gentle, for everyone you meet is fighting a difficult battle.
I love that there is a World Kindness Day – a day in the year to celebrate and remember the power of kindness and the transformational effect it can have on people’s lives.
According to Aesop, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, will ever be wasted.” Because of the fleeting momentary nature of kindness its easy to underestimate its power for we rarely get to know how our kindness can change someone’s day or even their life.
I’m sure we all have stories about kindness. These moments often come when someone maybe feeling down – for a kind person shows us that we are worthy of love. They are the moments when a frown may turn into a smile and when a lack of confidence transforms into self belief.
It warms our hearts to receive kindness.
I remember my godmother (now known as my fairy godmother) encouraging me to fulfil my dream of becoming a storyteller. At the time I was unable to embrace this heartfelt dream. I felt unworthy. Yet she believed in me and that was enough. Through her kindness and encouragement I was able to muster enough courage to take the next step. I enrolled on a storytelling course for beginners and since then my life has transformed. In finding my voice I am now able to do something I love and to share it with others.
So how do you practice kindness? According to a recent study in the Journal of Social Psychology there are four types of kindness:
1. Direct kindness towards people we’re close to (i.e., friends and family)
2. Direct kindness towards people we’re less close to (i.e., strangers or people they didn’t know well)
4. Observing acts of kindness carried out by other people
The true essence of humankind is kindness. There are other qualities which come from education or knowledge, but it is essential, if one wishes to be a genuine human being and impart satisfying meaning to one’s existence, to have a good heart. Dalai Lama
Acts of kindness inspire a feeling of happiness. It’s the most heart-warming form of connection. So lets infuse the world we live in with kindness with some great ideas:
1. Feed a parking meter–Give someone the gift of extra time.
2. Donate blood–Your generosity could save a life.
3. Help with a chore–Offer to lift, deliver or fix something for a friend.
4. Pay for an extra coffee–There’s nothing like a free latte to brighten anyone’s morning.
5. Start a community garden–Connect with your neighbours over a vegetable patch.
6. Write a gratitude letter–Express your appreciation with a thank you note.
7. Ask an elderly person about their past–You might be surprised by what you learn.
8. Take time to really listen to a friend–Sit down and listen, really listen.
9. Make a small present for someone–Knit, carve or paint a gift from the heart.
10. Volunteer at a local charity–Give a helping hand to your community.
11. Give a genuine compliment–Don’t just think it, say it.
12. Hold the door open–Little things matter.
13. Smile at someone new–You might just make their day (and yours!)
14. Organise a cleanup party–Pick up litter at your local park or beach.
15. Be polite on the road–Lift your hand from the steering wheel for a friendly wave.
16. Hold a fundraiser–Find a cause you believe in and support it.
17. Share a book you’ve enjoyed reading–Share the wisdom of other people’s words.
18. Donate stuff that you no longer need–Live simply.
19. Text someone good morning or goodnight–Remind them that they are in your thoughts.
20. Allow someone to help you–Give them the boost they need.
With thanks to Kate Love and Uplift for their inspiration when writing this post.