As kids, one of the human principles we learned to live by was kindness. The words ‘be kind’ were drummed into our ears daily because our parents wanted us to get the message. However, as we grew up, we learned that many of us did not truly understand the meaning of kindness.
For some of us kindness is the money we drop for the homeless man, for others it is the older adult we helped cross the road. While it is indisputable that these actions are acts of kindness, there seems to be a gap somewhere. The kindness which many people so gleefully share like candy disappears when they come in contact with their loved ones.
This lack of kindness is not intentional for most people. We believe that since love is already in the picture, it should come naturally; however, you have to be intentional about it. You must practice acts of kindness with your loved ones deliberately. Here are some ways you can show kindness to your loved ones:
Hug them often
Sometimes we restrict hugs to the first meeting after they have been away for a long time or when we haven’t seen them in a while, but it could be more. Hugs are a sign of affection and should be constant in relationships with your loved ones. Hug them whenever they seem in a bad mood or just randomly. Hugging makes them feel loved and cared for and you’re showing kindness through that simple act.
Call or text randomly
You do not always have to wait until you need something to reach out to a loved one. It is great to call or text often to find out how your loved ones are doing and what is going on in their lives. It is unkind to wait until you need to ask for a favor before reaching out.
Your loved ones are not there just to grant you favors. You should reach out to them often – call, send a message, or more importantly, visit. Do not let them feel that they are alone in this world. Maintain your position in their lives by consistently reaching out to them.
Ask how you can help them
You may not know that your loved one is going through a difficult time unless they tell you. When they do, ask how you can help and always let them know that you are willing to help in any situation.
It is an act of kindness to hold their hands when they are going through a hard time and ask “How can I help?”
Listen when they talk
Sometimes, all people want is someone who will listen to them. Be that person for your loved ones. Be the one who they can come to when they want to offload. It may feel like a burden to be the person who takes in all of the steam they are letting off, but think of it as a sacrifice. When you listen to them, you help them deal with whatever pent-up emotions they have been carrying.
Acknowledge their feelings
Even if it does not make sense to you, it is unkind to invalidate another person’s feelings based on what you think is right. Acknowledge their feelings as valid, even if they are devoid of logical reasoning. You can bring logic to the table later. Do not make your loved ones think you are an insensitive brute because you always counter their feelings with logic.
Respect their wishes
You may have their best interests at heart, and think you know what is right for them; but you should respect their wishes as long as it does not cause them or others harm. Your loved ones do not need you to make decisions for them; they need you to respect their wishes and give them the necessary support.
Give them gifts
Presenting gifts is one of the best acts of kindness you can show your loved ones. Gifts do not have to be things wrapped in a box. Think of other kinds of gift ideas. For example, you could pay for a spa day, give them a gift card to their favorite restaurant, or pay for a class they want to attend.
The important thing is that the present came from the heart, it is thoughtful and something they need. When you are constantly communicating with your loved ones, it is easy to know what they need.
Handle a few chores
Even if they think they have things covered, they probably wouldn’t mind having some chores taken out of their hands. Drop by at your loved ones’ and help them out with tasks like taking out the garbage, de-cluttering their closets or cleaning out their attic. Of course, they can do these chores independently, but extra help is appreciated.
If your loved ones are ageing or saddled with mobility issues, helping them out with chores may be one of the most loving things you can do. It will also allow you to spend quality time with them. With a loving heart and capable hands you can improve the lives of your loved ones.
Take care of some bills
There is no pressure to do this, and it should be within your financial capacity. You can take care of some of their bills and relieve their worries. It can be something as small as randomly paying for their bus ticket. It is a sweet gesture and a kind one, too.
Our world can be a hard place to live in, and we all need some cushioning. Kindness provides that. Your loved ones may seem like they are okay and you may think your relationships with them is excellent. They just might be; however, this does not negate the need for intentional acts of kindness in your relationships. Whether your acts of kindness are big or small, show them either way. Most importantly, always remember to tell them that you love them.