Just recently, I was chatting with a group of women and the subject of kindness came about. One of the women said she felt that if someone was mean to her, she would automatically have a hard time letting it go. She felt that she always had speak up for herself, stand her ground, hold her own, and be assertive. Otherwise, if she didn’t, then it would make her look weak, and would give others the opportunity to walk all over her. She admitted, that sadly she finds kindness has always been a challenge for her, it is something that she deeply struggles with, and when she feels that feeling she quickly reacts and tries to push against it.
Another woman in the group thought that being kind is often dismissed as a sign of weakness, (we all agreed that it is actually a strength.) She feels that we live in a competitive and high-pressured world and believe that there is much emphasis on winning, and that makes her feel that to be kind truly takes courage. She told us that she knows plenty of people who believe that others are only kind to them when they want something. She mentioned that she quite often sees bursts of road rage and everyone seems to be in a big hurry to get somewhere. She feels that we rush from one busy day to the next and regularly people push past her as they have to get through the door first at Starbucks, where they grab their coffee and run. No eye contact, no smile, totally self-absorbed. Have people forgotten how to be kind?
We then pondered over, what is an act of kindness?
Our combined answer: An act of kindness is a gesture of goodwill towards someone or something. Random acts of kindness can be performed anywhere, at any time. They will usually be for no reason other than to make people smile, or be happier. Random acts of kindness are done, purely, with no expectation of something in return.
We agreed that when you perform acts of kindness you are being true to your own nature, and that naturally makes you feel good. In order to be kind you have to pay attention to what is going on around you, and when you help others, people appreciate what you’ve done for them. When you are kind, the impact of your kindness doesn’t stop there. Others will see or hear of your kindness and they may be inspired to be kinder. The ripples of kindness can be truly endless.
Of course, kindness includes being kind to yourself. So, speak to yourself kindly and gently and take good care of yourself. Becoming aware of how you treat yourself is key to seeing how you relate to others, and kindness is a value that could strengthen all of our relationships including the one with self.
With a unanimous vote, we agreed that all of us wanted to feel good as much as possible. After reading how numerous studies show that even small gestures, such as giving a stranger a flower, lending a close friend an ear, letting someone go before you in the queue. Or simply doing a favor like holding the door open for someone can enhance and make us feel so darn good. It can feel even better when we get used to the idea of giving without expecting anything in return. By doing this, it can have a massive impact on your day and other people”s too.
So, why not commit to a random act of kindness in everyday life?here are a few ideas that we can choose to practice.
“What you do comes back to you”
- Open the door for someone
- Smile at someone; you could brighten up their day
- Donate what you no longer use to charity
- Wish a bright and happy ‘Good Morning’ to someone even if it’s a stranger.
- Say “Please” and “Thank you” and really mean it
- Be a listener and listen without judgement
- Motivate someone; help them to go after their goal
- Leave a generous tip after a meal
- Have empathy. Try to understand what’s going on in the heart of a friend who may be feeling angry, frustrated or sad
Why kindness matters
- It can make you happier
- It creates a feeling of emotional warmth, and that produces the hormone oxytocin which in turn helps to lower blood pressure and protects the heart
- Lowers the rate of depression
- It’s liberating and creates positive feelings for you
- It helps you to become a better person. Ask yourself when was the last time you showed kindness to someone
- It can change your view about yourself. When we can show kindness to others, we become kinder to ourselves
- Gives us a healthier heart
- Slows the aging process
- Reduces anxiety
- Makes better relationships
We all know the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. And we know the benefits of being kind. It’s the secret sauce to a healthy, happy life. Bottom line: kindness increases one’s sense of self-worth, boosts emotional well-being and enhances feelings of joyfulness. Who doesn’t want some of that? So, remember, kindness is contagious, you just need to have to those opportunities in your daily life where kindness can exist. A little bit of kindness can go a long way.
What acts of kindness will you be doing and how will it make you feel? Let’s chat I’d love to hear.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
~ Maya Angelou
Diane Morgan works with women who are overwhelmed and torn by the aging process and have a hard time finding themselves and their place in life during and beyond midlife. She is the creator of a powerful transformational program Awaken Your Beauty Inside Out: Fall In Love With The Skin You’re In. This phenomenal program capitalizes on her 20 plus years of experience in the beauty industry and her expertise as a certified Master Empowerment Coach for women.