Kindness is a wonderful thing; it has the power to put a smile on someone’s face, to comfort a mother in bereavement and to turn hatred into remorse. Hopefully one day kindness will even go as far as bridging gaps, ending wars and bringing peace on Earth.
In honour of World Kindness Day, I am dedicating this post to a very special cause – spreading love and joy. But before I offer suggestions on ways to incorporate kindness into our daily lives, here’s a little story to inspire you. I recall my mother some years ago, waving and saying hello to a stranger as we passed a building on our way back from the supermarket. I was quick to judge and immediately asked her why she spoke to the stranger, not having realised that the building housed disadvantaged people, and she said to me, “These people are lonely. They like seeing people.” In that moment I realised that my mother was a much kinder person than I was, the type of person that would help a blind man cross a street and buy lunch for a homeless person. And she had done so, many times.
Though it may seem biased, my mother is a perfect example of everything a kind person should be – non judgemental, generous and open. While I was quick to judge, she was understanding. While I failed to notice, she saw with clear undiluted eyes.
If we want to be better people, we need to start with ourselves; start by judging less, criticising less, complimenting more and doing simple acts of kindness, such as giving a stranger a smile. When you think about it, a smile is so simple and yet isn’t it wonderful when a stranger smiles at you? I don’t mean the flirting kind – I don’t mean when a man eyes you and gives you a smirk as you walk down the street. I’m talking about that innocent smile a child gives you to show his appreciation or the stranger who smiles at you warmly when you cross path, telling you to have a nice day.
Helping others should become second nature, we shouldn’t really have to think about it. But to some of us, it doesn’t come that easy. Some of us are still plagued with tortured memories, still recovering from bitter hurt and disappointment. In order to be a better person, we’ll have to toss all that aside and start thinking more about others, rather than worrying about ourselves and holding on to grudges.
Here are some suggestions on ways to show kindness today AND tomorrow:
This is the easiest way to show kindness to strangers. All you have to do is write anonymous notes on cards and leave them on benches or tucked somewhere, where someone may come across it. These can be in the form of simple words such as, “If you’re reading this, you’re beautiful.” You never know what kind of day someone may be having and seeing your note could make a world of difference.
Volunteer your time
Volunteering your time is an amazing way to give a little back to your community. You can hand out food to people at a homeless shelter or visit an elderly person at their home for a little cup of tea and company.
Give money to charity
This is simple to do, as it doesn’t take an awful lot of time to set up. You can give as little as £2 a month to a charity whose cause you genuinely feel strongly towards. It may not seem like much but if everyone gives £2, imagine how much accumulates from it.
Buy a homeless person lunch
I haven’t been brave enough to do this one so if you are, I salute you. A lot of homeless people probably feel like there’s no-one in this world who cares about them. The simple act of buying them lunch shows you care and may just be the miracle they were waiting for.
Hug your loved one
So simply and yet, we don’t do it enough. A simple hug will let your loved one know that you care and if they are going through a tough time right now, may be just the thing they’re looking for.
Tell a close friend how much they mean to you
It’s important to let the people who’ve been there for you all along to know how much you appreciate them. By reminding them with a kind word every now and then, you’re also acknowledging how grateful you are.
Give someone a compliment
Sometimes, when we see someone looking lovely, we often compliment them in our heads, without saying it aloud. But a small compliment can make a big change to someone’s day. If they’re having a crappy day, your compliment could be just the thing they needed for a good boost of confidence.
Become a secret pen pal
Send letters to someone in desperate need of comfort and let them know that there are good people out there who still care.
Being kind is harder said than done but a world free of war and hatred is a much more beautiful place to live in.
Thanks for reading.