Here’s the surprising thing about the power of kindness – it doesn’t just have a positive impact on the person at the receiving end of that kindness, but also, on the person who is being kind.
Kindness is a powerful force that has the ability to transform people’s lives and make the world a better place.
The great thing about kindness is that you don’t have to be the Dalai Lama or Mother Teresa to be kind – we all have the potential to be caring individuals.
So, if you’d like to cultivate more kindness in your own life, here’s a list of 10 habits of genuinely caring individuals:
1) Practice empathy
If you’d like to incorporate kindness and caring for others into your daily life, you can start by being more empathetic.
Now, each and every one of us (psychopaths excluded) has the ability to empathize with other people. Some of us have an easier time timer tapping into our empathy and others, a more difficult one.
I think the reason that some people are less empathetic is that it’s easier to shut yourself off than to feel the pain and suffering of other people.
And I get it, there’s so much emotion around us and it can be hard to deal with. From the emotions of the people closest to us to the people we see struggling on the streets and to the starving children we see on TV all the time – it’s a lot to take in!
But there is a middle ground – a way to be empathetic without letting it get to you. It’s all about setting boundaries and practicing self-care.
So, if you want to be kind, remember to take the time to find out how others are doing. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself how you’d feel if you found yourself in their place.
And once you’ve got empathy then you can…
2) Offer support
When you feel what someone else is feeling and you understand what they’re going through, you’ll have an easier time figuring out what you can do to make life easier for them.
Maybe they just need someone to listen to them or offer a shoulder to cry on. Maybe they need a helping hand. Or maybe they’re hungry and cold and could really use a warm meal and a blanket.
And look, nobody expects miracles from you, you can’t save the whole world. But whenever it is in your power to help another person, do it, because that’s what people who genuinely care do.
3) Be generous
Now, being generous means being willing to give freely and selflessly to others without asking for (or expecting) anything in return.
It means being open-hearted and compassionate toward others and making sure that your actions impact their lives in a positive way.
Generosity can take many forms. A lot of people think about money and material things being given, and that’s true, that is one way to be generous. But you can also be generous by spending your free time volunteering, offering emotional support, or even sharing your knowledge.
It’s all about giving what we have, whether it be our time, resources, or talents, with the goal of helping others and making their lives better and happier.
But that’s not all, generosity is also about cultivating a mindset of abundance, rather than scarcity, and recognizing that there is always enough to share and to give.
At its core, generosity is about giving without conditions or expectations. It involves being empathetic and compassionate towards others, and recognizing that we are all interconnected and dependent on each other in some way. And when we practice generosity, we help to create a more caring and supportive community, and hopefully, we inspire others to do the same.
4) Practice random acts of kindness
I just love the idea of performing random acts of kindness!
Okay so, when it comes to random acts of kindness, it’s about being kind for kindness’ sake – zero strings attached.
You can perform random acts of kindness for someone you know or for a perfect stranger.
For example, you can mow your neighbor’s lawn or shovel their driveway. You can help the old lady across the street or carry her groceries. Or, you can pop in and visit your grandparents when they don’t expect it, just to make them smile.
But wait, there’s more!
When it comes to random acts of kindness, they can also be anonymous. After all, you don’t need any recognition, right? I mean, you’re doing something nice to make someone happy, not to get praise…
So, for example, you can donate money or kibble to a dog shelter without revealing your identity. Or you can pay for someone’s meal at a restaurant and ask the waiter to keep it anonymous. Another thing you could do could be to leave a small gift or kind note for a stranger in a public place.
Try it and I guarantee that it will change your life.
5) Don’t be judgmental
If you’ve ever been a the receiving end of someone’s judgment, you’ll know just how sh**** it can feel. So why would you do it to others?
I think that being judgmental is the opposite of being kind because no matter what you may think about someone’s behavior, you don’t know what they’ve been through. You don’t know why they’re acting the way they’re acting.
Simply put, if you want to be kind, don’t be so quick to judge. Instead, be open-minded and willing to listen and understand.
I’m not through yet…
Look, nobody is perfect – I’m not and neither are you! Plus, we’re all different. Sure, people with similar backgrounds have similar beliefs and interests, but the world is huge and diverse and it’s crazy to expect everyone to be the same. To think the same and act the same.
Just try to keep that in mind when you run into someone who isn’t like you. Instead of judging, try and accept them as they are.
And if you can do that, then you’re a genuinely caring person yourself.
6) Be patient
Be patient with yourself, your children, your partner, your parents… Be patient with the world.
But, what does it mean to be patient?
It means having empathy, understanding, and respect for another human being. It means taking the time to listen to them and to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Trust me, your patience could mean a lot to someone who’s struggling, who has a history of fu**ing up.
Maybe everyone else has given up on them, maybe nobody expects anything from them. But then you come along and you’re kind and patient and that gives them hope.
And here’s the kicker: Maybe your patience and kindness will help them turn things around, who knows?
The bottom line is that if you want to be a kinder and more caring person, you should try to cultivate patience and understanding in your dealings with others. And remember, we all have our own journey and develop at our own pace.
7) Show appreciation
Kind and caring people are grateful for all the good things in their life – especially the people they care about. That’s why they make sure to show them just how much they appreciate them.
And do you know what? People like to hear that they are loved and appreciated!
A lot of people think, “Oh, they know how I feel” and maybe they do, but maybe they don’t. Maybe they think that nobody cares about them… You never know what’s going on in someone’s mind, so trust me, it won’t hurt to tell them how you feel from time to time.
It makes people feel good to know that someone cares about them and to know that they’re not being taken for granted.
8) Practice forgiveness
“Compassion, forgiveness, these are the real, ultimate sources of power for peace and success in life.”
– Dalai Lama
It’s a lot easier to do something nice for someone than to forgive them. I know.
Forgiveness can be a tough little cookie to crack.
But just think about how cra**y it feels when someone you care about or hold in your esteem is mad at you. It can be torture!
That’s why I think that part of being kind and caring is being able to forgive. Plus, it’s not just for the sake of the other person, but for your own sake too!
You see, when you carry around anger and resentment, you’re effectively carrying around a lot of negative energy. And what good does that do? It’s just making you feel bad.
So, are you ready to let go of all your grudges and resentments?
9) Listen actively
Look, I’m not gonna lie to you. There are people who talk way too much. I mean they’ll talk your ear off for hours.
But do you know why?
Most often it’s because they’re lonely.
Think about it, aren’t the most talkative people lonely old ladies who live by themselves and miss their kids?
So why not show them the kindness of actively listening to them once in a while?
Say “yes” to that coffee with your neighbor. Let her tell you all about her grandkids. Ask about her cats. Show her that she is still relevant and has something to offer because that’s what being kind is all about.
10) Practice self-care
Here’s the thing, if you want to be kind to others, you also need to be able to be kind to yourself.
I mean, you can’t go out there giving words of encouragement to others, listening to their problems, and being empathetic and forgiving, without showing yourself the same courtesy.
That’s not how it works.
If you want to be kind, start by being kind to yourself.
Take care of yourself. Forgive yourself. Cut yourself some slack for not being “perfect”.
Can you do that?