Kindness – luckily it comes naturally to most of us. We are born with the ability to be kind and caring. If we’re blessed enough to have loving people around us, we have no problem treating others with kindness.
Still, life gets in the way, we get caught up in our problems or insecurities, and being kind stops being our top priority. So how can we learn to be kinder in our daily lives? Here are some things you can try.
Work on your listening skills
We all love talking to people who are good listeners, yet no one teaches us how to be better at listening. Everyone wants to feel heard and understood. The only way to feel that is by having a conversation with a person who genuinely cares about what you have to say.
How can you be that person? Listen with an open mind – don’t overthink your responses and don’t get lost in your own thoughts while the other person is speaking. Don’t interrupt, ask questions and maintain eye contact.
Give people the benefit of the doubt
It is impossible to always be on your best behavior. We can all be moody, annoying, insensitive or even rude. We always have an excuse for why we act that way, so we don’t see it as that big of a deal.
When someone else is being unpleasant, we get offended and jump to conclusions about them. We forget that just like us, they might be going through a hard time, and they are actually a pretty nice person when they are in a good mood.
So give people the benefit of the doubt. As an exercise, next time you get annoyed at someone, ask yourself “What could they be going through right now? Is there a chance they don’t actually mean to cause any harm or inconvenience?”
Don’t underestimate the power of a smile
Learn to recognize reasons to smile every single day, then share your smile with others. It is a cliche, but a simple greeting or a smile can really make someone’s day.
You never know what the other person is going through. Perhaps, they feel as if they were a burden and no one wants to see them. By smiling at them, you’re letting them know that you’re happy to see them and that life is not that bad.
Think back to a time when you felt unhappy and the people who made you feel better. Smiling and saying hello is the simplest little thing, but it can make a world of difference.
Mindfulness is one of those trendy words that are trendy for a reason. It describes the ability to be present exactly when and where you are without drifting away into the past or the future.
Our past may be full of trauma and negative experiences, but if we think about it too much we lose the ability to appreciate something good without feeling fearful or suspicious. The future, on the other hand, can be full of uncertainty and things we can’t control. Instead of enjoying a pleasant, peaceful moment, our brain starts thinking about the future and trying to solve the problems we can’t possibly fix right now.
By practicing mindfulness, you can become more forgiving to yourself and the people around you. Learn to feel happiness on a more profound level and meet people where they are without judgement.
Be more confident
Confidence is not about cockiness or arrogance. It’s about knowing your strengths and weaknesses, being comfortable with who you are and respecting your own boundaries. A confident person can take criticism, keep calm in the storm and be more helpful to people around them.
A great way to become more confident is to be more curious. That includes being curious about what other people have to say or what your inner voice is telling you without letting either affect your self-worth. Curiosity is also about being willing to learn and ask for help so that the next time someone needs your emotional or physical support, you will be ready to provide it.
Embrace the awkwardness
It’s funny how many kind things may seem pretty awkward or embarrassing. We all know that one person who is never shy or ashamed of anything, whether it’s asking for help, giving a random compliment or dancing in the streets. Listen to your inner child – it might have some good ideas on how to make you and people around you happier.
There are some situations where it pays to be that annoying person who asks uncomfortable questions and says awkward things that may seem obvious. If someone is joking about suicide, be that person who genuinely asks how they feel. If someone is feeling down, say to their face just how great they are and just how much you love them. It’s always worth it!