Kindness produces a ripple effect and here is how. If a passerby smiles at you on your way to morning walk then you almost always give back the smile. Next when you see somebody else, even a stranger in fact, you do smile. It is contagious and it continues.
And yet, we’re so much involved in our own lives that we fail to see the need of a woman who is crying, a kid who is lost, a man who is differently able or a girl who is looking for directions on the road.
Why are we not kind enough in this world to help each other?
What makes us so selfish and judgmental?
How can we confront our apathy and become more empathetic?
We will figure out all the answers soon.
What is kindness?
Aristotle, in Book II of his “Rhetoric“, defines kindness as-
…helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped.
Why being kind is so important for our own self?
Before we begin talking about why it helps our own self, here is a piece of article packed with examples I want you to read.
Only after you read that article you will realize, how some of the people can actually touch hearts of the unknowns through their kindness.
According to a five-year study in the American Journal of Public Health,
…people 65 and older who didn’t assist friends, neighbors or relatives had a 30 percent higher chance of dying after a stressful life event, like a job loss, than those who were generous. And volunteering for a good cause can give you a greater sense of purpose, which may lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke, according to an analysis of ten studies with around 136,000 subjects.
Another study concludes that any positive act towards others can bring in immense pleasure and happiness from within.
One of the reasons for this, according to me is, because kindness comes from a place where there is a heartfelt genuineness in helping others. It comes out by empathizing. It is more satisfying, forgiving, accepting, lending and leading from within.
What you give comes back to you, may be not in the form you gave but in the form of happiness and self satisfaction.
How to become more kind towards others?
- As suggested on The Oprah, you can start with these 35 acts of kindness to begin with.
- Stay away from negativity like hatredness,resentment, jealousy, suspiciousness, etc. and see the genuine needs in others and then give them what they want.
- Kindness is something that has no strings attached. Hence, don’t expect anything from them in return or else it would become a favor and that is so much heavy on your actions and their ego along with their sentiments.
- Practice being kind. No it’s not funny. If you don’t practice then you may feel shy to lend help and not know how to approach. It also becomes difficult to see the difference between invading their privacy and recognize their needs. All this and more comes with practice.
- Make kindness your strength. Be compassionate and humble for your own happiness sake even when people instigate you with negativity.
- Step in others shoes before you assume things and learn to look in their perspective. You think you’re right always and so does the other person. Try to understand him as well as make them realize how do you feel before getting into an argument.
- Being kind only towards people whom you think are in need is to become judgmental. Show your compassion to people irrespective of what you think about their needs- a smile, a hug, few words to enquire their health and such can add so much to others positivity.
- Learn to listen. A ear that lends time without interrupting adds so much value in a person’s life who just want to throw it out. You just have to shed your apathy and show some empathy.
- Do keep your point and disagree but do it politely. How you say is more important than what you say.
- Learn to say sorry, thank you, please more often mindfully. Be grateful for what you receive from others. Share and care as much as possible.
- Every being needs kindness and not just humans. Love and care for animals.
- My son likes to collect coins in his piggy bank. I have asked him to save them so that he can share some happiness by giving them away to the needy on the street. Let him start small; let him start somewhere.
- Stop complaining about life, situations, people and the things that you don’t have. Show some gratitude for what you have.
- People criticize and it’s okay to be quite at times without showing your reaction. Also beware about what you say to others. Your feedback about others may turn into criticism without your knowledge. Instead learn to encourage.
- Above all be kind to yourself before showing kindness to others in need. After all, a happy soul can spread happiness and a kind heart can share kindness.
Be kind to your family and friends and be kind to strangers but see that you don’t over do it to the point that you absorb all the negativity upon yourself. There is a fine line between showing empathy and letting it get your mind.
The intention here is to bring in positivity for yourself so take it slowly and as you learn make it your second nature.
What kindness act have you done recently and how did you feel about it? Share your experience with us.