You might think you have to do grand gestures of kindness to leave an impact on others, but let me tell you—small acts of kindness and compassion done daily do more wonders.
If you want to transform your life to become a much gentler and kinder person, you might want to read my latest book “ The Hidden Secrets of Buddhism. It’s a guide I made on how to live with maximum impact and minimum ego.
Meantime, if you want something quick and easy, here are 10 simple ways you can practice kindness and compassion every day.
1) Make others feel comfortable
Sometimes we can be so focused on ourselves that we become oblivious of others. If you want to be a little kinder, try to make others feel comfortable.
This isn’t so difficult to do. Simply look up from where you stand to see if there’s anyone who is clearly uneasy and try to help them feel a little more comfortable.
It would be great, for example, if you try and reach out to the new girl at the office and make her feel like she’s welcome.
Perhaps you can share your umbrella over to someone who’s having a hard time finding shelter in the heat.
Or maybe you can pay attention to how people are holding themselves in a conversation—and if someone looks uncomfortable, that might be your cue to change topics or ask what’s wrong.
2) Do random acts of kindness
Go give your neighbor some fresh-baked cookies, hold the door open for the person after you, and say the baby is cute.
Or perhaps you can go give your friend a visit to help them deal with their latest break-up.
Even something as simple as saying “good morning” and smiling at the mailman already does plenty of good—really!
These are small gestures that will make things a little easier for at least one other person, and for that alone, they’re worth doing.
3) Leave your prejudice at the door
Here’s something you should know: you can’t claim to be truly kind or compassionate if you’re prejudiced.
But, let’s face it. It’s just a fact of life that no matter how hard we try to be as neutral or free from prejudice as possible, we will all have our little biases anyways.
I’m sure you’ve judged someone based on their clothes, age, or even the color of their skin and not even notice it.
And the thing is…you can’t truly say that you’re kind or compassionate if you’re selective of the people you want to show kindness to—if you stay away from someone (in need) because they look “filthy” or “scary” or “annoying.”
It takes time and effort to spot and deal with your inherent biases, but it’s worth it if you want to be genuinely kind.
4) Pay attention when someone is talking
As one philosopher said, attention is the highest and rarest form of generosity. Most of the time we think we’re paying attention, but we really aren’t.
While someone’s talking, do you keep thinking of something else? Do you want to change the topic? Are you actually listening with your ears, mind, and heart?
Or perhaps you unconsciously make things about you.
Let’s say that you were letting a friend tell you about their troubles and at some point you felt a bit offended by something they said. Perhaps they were complaining about their boyfriend and you felt a bit mad because you’ve been single since forever.
Well then, stop that habit already. Be a little kinder by giving someone your 100% attention, especially if they really need it.
5) Be more polite
Say thank you and please. And do it genuinely and as often as possible.
Did someone hold the door open for you? Say thank you. Did the waitress bring you your order? Say thank you. Did someone apologize for bumping into you? Say it’s okay.
Exercising kindness and gratitude goes a long way to making you a kind person, and it’s not even that hard!
It might seem a bit ridiculous to say “please” and “thank you” to your waitress for giving you your order… that’s their job after all!
But if you think about it, why SHOULDN’T you?
If you’ve ever felt like it was unnecessary or even too much to say thank you over small things like these, you’re probably being held back by ego.
6) Try to understand that which you don’t
We all live vastly different lives from each other, and it’s just a fact that some people will have lived lives so alien from yours that it’s hard for you to see where they’re coming from.
Now you could simply leave it at “I don’t understand them!” and run the risk of building assumption after assumption based on what you think those people are like… or you could try to expand your worldview.
It doesn’t take much effort to try to understand that there are people that, right this moment, you simply can’t understand or relate to.
Go ahead and put yourself in their shoes…and try to really see where they’re coming from. You’ll do humanity a big favor.
7) Mind your tongue
There’s an Indonesian proverb that says “Your mouth is your tiger.”
The truth is that words can and do hurt. And I know this is dark, but verbal abuse can and has pushed many people into suicide.
And if reading that makes you go “Words are just words! What wimps! They need to face REAL hardship!” then this tip goes double for you.
Dismissing the real harm that harsh, hurtful words can do isn’t being “strong”—it’s being a horrible person.
It doesn’t cost that much to simply stop and consider if the words you’re using are hurtful or not before you say them or press that “send” button.
And the opposite is true. Kind, loving words can soothe. So if you want to be a little kinder, you know what to do.
8) Offer help where you can
Life is hard enough, and everyone could use a helping hand. So go offer help when you feel like someone needs it.
Maybe you have a colleague who looks like they need some help getting their work done on time, or an ex who’s nervous about proposing to their partner and needs some motivation. Extend help.
Or you might have a friend who’s struggling to pay their rent. I know it’s considered a “stupid move” to loan money to friends and family, but if you have $100 to spare, why not offer it? Sure, there’s a chance that your friend won’t pay you back, but this is where kindness and compassion are put to use.
The operative word here is CAN. Make sure that you’re not going above your limit just to be kind to others. Otherwise, you’ll start to resent and start hating yourself for being “too kind”.
9) Be patient
It’s part of human nature to be imperfect. Sometimes people might be slower than you might like, or they might not understand what you’re trying to tell them straight away.
And of course you can’t forget that sometimes emotions can get in the way and cloud one’s mind, making them denser or more combative than you would have liked.
But just because someone doesn’t get you straight away, or because they blew up on you or said something hurtful doesn’t mean you should just write them off or snap back in turn.
Patience isn’t always an easy virtue to uphold, but it’s one important way you can practice kindness and compassion.
10) Be kind to yourself
We all know that being selfish is a bad thing, but way too many people misunderstand and think that focusing on oneself is inherently bad. But the thing is… the opposite —being selfless and always putting others before oneself isn’t any better!
You’ll just end up being too torn and conflicted, always trying to appease others because you don’t “deserve” to put yourself first in anything.
If you can relate, then you must be reminded that you can’t be kind and compassionate towards others if you aren’t kind to yourself.
We’ve seen so many “selfless” people who are actually very uptight, rude, and unforgiving to others.
So take it easy. Love yourself like you’re the most important person in the world and let this kind of love spill out of you and reach others. That’s the best way to do it.
Practicing kindness and compassion doesn’t just help others, it also helps YOU. It’s the first step to living a deeper and fuller life.
And as you can see, it doesn’t take so much effort to become a kind and compassionate person. Try to apply the things above to your life and before you know it, you’ve become the kind of person who’s a real blessing to others.