Ask a person if they consider themselves kind and the answer will be yes, of course. Yet, words are one thing when compared to actions that demonstrate that person’s genuine kindness. Kindness is not a trait that all people are known to have. Regardless of genetic makeup or any cause and effect from an individual’s environment, it still is a part of us that may just be buried deeper in some than others. You might as well think of kindness as untapped human potential that just like other habits can be learned and developed through practice and small acts of kindness.
Acts of Kindness That Can Make a Difference
1. If you take public transportation to work, you have plenty of opportunity to practice various expressions of kindness. Instead of standing mutely at the bus stop, you should say a simple “good morning” and try to converse. Doing so by being cordial to fellow riders will speed up the wait.
2. Be patient with someone that may be slow due to a health condition or learning impairment whether for taking your bus, waiting in a checkout line, walking ahead of you or dealing with at your workplace.
3. Always show respect for an older person instead of trying to disregard their advice even if it may be wrong demonstrates kindness. After all, they have accumulated more life experience and could be making a point.
4. Help someone struggling to do something if you can. Perhaps, you see someone trying to navigate a busy road that may not move as quickly as you do to dart through oncoming traffic. It never hurts to ask this person if you can help them cross.
5. Practice these small acts of kindness when you know a friend, acquaintance or relative has a problem. Call that person and ask if there is anything that you can do to help.
By the same token, you may have an elderly or disabled neighbor that may feel forgotten. Open your heart and brighten their day by bringing them a plate of Thanksgiving turkey dinner for example or a dish of cookies to show them they are not alone.
6. Volunteering at a food bank, a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, senior center or residence for seniors is important. Many people at such places or stages in their lives often do not have family or the hope they need to feel anyone cares.
7. Glum faces get you nowhere when it comes to making people feel comfortable. A smile and just saying “hi” to a stranger that you may pass is enough to lift your spirit and that passerby. Both these gestures are yet other little, but meaningful acts of kindness.
8. Monitor your words carefully for ones that could be misconstrued as too critical, cruel or judgmental that could crush another’s hope toward a goal, promotion or idea. Voicing your opinion constructively can accomplish more without making the person feel like a failure.
9. You may be in a hiring position. Giving someone their first job can be an act of kindness in this dog eat dog world. Remember you and everyone else that ever held a job started out without experience. Newbie employees have a lot to prove to earn that trust you put in them. By allowing them the opportunity to show you what he or she can do is an act of kindness that can return to you in fresh ideas and increased profits in time.
Sincere Compliments Are Expressions of Kindness
10. Don’t be stingy with compliments is another of the expressions of kindness. Tell your husband, a wife, a son, a daughter, a co-worker, an employee, the friend to a person that serves you from store clerk, the stylist, etc. something that you genuinely mean that could bring them a tiny ray of extra happiness.
Maybe your wife cooked an exceptionally delicious dinner that took more time and preparation than what she normally served. Instead of just gobbling it down, try to tell her how much you enjoyed it. Realize all the effort that she took to make this meal special for you and the family matters and will return to you with a happier wife.
The same principle goes for whatever household task that your husband may have done for your home. Something like unclogging a drain or toilet to moving a heavy piece of furniture takes some skill and brute strength that you may lack. Therefore, show some gratitude for that accomplishment as small as it may be. This only takes a moment and is acknowledging what was done with kindness.
You even might want to think about that overworked sales clerk that is checking out your purchases. Notice something that you like about that person or the way she or he handles her job and tell her or him so. Maybe you like her or his hairstyle or the fact that he or she doesn’t squish your bread when loading your bag to how fast he or she finishes tallying up such a large order. What I am getting at is offering a sincere compliment to a stranger can start a pleasant chain reaction that can result in a smile that will be paid forward and so on.
If your child shows you a report card and it is less than you hoped, then all is not lost. Although the marks might not have been as high, there could be one class that might have gone up. Notice the improvement in effort that the child is trying is more productive than scolding the child for not meeting your expectations. Show compassion, understanding and kindness are more effective and encouraging. It is best to keep in mind that each of us learns at our own pace.
11. Learn to accept and be accepted is another expression of kindness. You may not believe in a lifestyle, a political affiliation or way of life of another person. However, it is not your place to judge. Being tolerant and understanding all people regardless of ethnic origin, background or life choices, etc. is how you develop true kindness and understanding of your fellow man.
12. Never look down at someone that may be less fortunate than you. Someone could be dirty in ragged, torn clothing sitting on church steps when you pass. Perhaps, they are waiting for a soup kitchen or overnight shelter. Don’t assume you know this person is just lazy, a drug addict, alcoholic, crazy or another label that you attach for what you are seeing to ease your guilt. Anyone at anytime can be in a similar situation through an unexpected change of circumstances from unimaginable medical bills, losing a high-paying job, a spouse that empties your joint savings, a natural disaster that destroys your home and possessions, etc.
The last thing that I want to leave you with is remembering acts of kindness start at home. When you learn to treat others with kindness in the same way that you hope to be treated, it always manages to come back to you to brighten your life and those around you.