Life isn’t all sunshine and roses. Everywhere you turn, there are infuriating headlines. On top of that, there are small hurts, like someone cutting you off on your commute to work, stepping ahead of you in the grocery store line, making a snide comment under their breath, or going out of their way to be cruel. The unfortunate reality is there is darkness in this world. So, is it possible to be a light? To choose kindness? To be a blessing to others? While it isn’t necessarily easy, being kind is always an option. Here are some ways to be kind…even when you don’t want to be.
Why Kindness Matters More Than Ever
Since the start of the pandemic, anxiety and depression has risen considerably. The World Health Organization estimates a 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide. There are many factors associated with this increase. For instance, the many unknowns, less time spent with others, and of course, healthcare gaps. Though many countries have returned to various states of “normal,” the impacts of the pandemic remain. People may not be as friendly, may be struggling with mental health, or may have difficulty readjusting to life as it once was. There are many different reasons kindness may appear to be on the decline. Add in social media content and articles that have become more and more outrageous for the sake of clicks…and the end result is a society that is stressed, anxious, and being spoon fed a healthy diet of negative information.
That is why kindness is more important than ever before. Acts of kindness are powerful! Not only can they make you feel better, but they can make others feel better as well. It may not be possible to solve every problem or right every wrong…but it is possible to contribute to this world in a positive way through kindness, thoughtfulness, understanding, and generosity.
Understand That Being Kind Starts With Compassion
It is all too easy to assume the worst in people. Sometimes, that is a coping mechanism and other times, it is the result of challenging life experiences. One way to be a light in a dark world is to start with compassion. Instead of assuming that someone has hurt you on purpose…try to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe that person didn’t realize that you were next in line. Or perhaps the lackluster work that a fellow employee did was the result of a poor night sleep. If we are able to have a little compassion, those small annoyances are unlikely to bother us as much. Approach these types of situations with forgiveness, understanding, and yes, kindness. Try these affirmations to establish a more compassionate mindset:
- I am doing the best that I can. Everyone I encounter is also doing their best.
- I choose love and kindness in this moment.
- The negativity of others does not affect me.
- I am a compassionate and understanding person.
Avoid Battling Negativity With More Negativity
Two wrongs don’t make a right…and yet it is always so tempting to give what you get. Maybe a family member made a hurtful comment at a recent get-together or someone left a nasty comment on your Instagram. Though it might be satisfying to get the last word in, it likely won’t make the situation better. Know when it is appropriate to use your voice and when it is not to your benefit. Remember: some people truly just want to hurt others for the sake of it. There is no winning when you try to argue with someone like that. So, don’t be afraid to remove yourself from certain situations or relationships. Online? Use the block and delete button liberally. Offline? Be mindful of who you spend your time with. If someone intentionally pushes your buttons, puts you down, or enjoys making you uncomfortable…walk away. That is an act of kindness in itself. You didn’t escalate the situation and you also set clear boundaries.
Go Out of Your Way to Infuse Each Day With Kindness
The iconic quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” is well-known for a reason. It acts as a reminder that a kinder world starts with each and every one of us. Proactive kindness is important. So, aim to do one kind thing every day for another person. It could be smiling at a stranger, donating money to a charity or organization that does meaningful work, complimenting a family member, texting a friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while, signing a petition, or bringing canned goods to a food bank. There are many ways (big and small) to do some good. The more kindness that is put into the world, the better off everyone will be. Be sure to do your part! Don’t forget that being kind applies to your own life as well. Focus on self-care activities, be mindful of your thoughts, and shower yourself with all the love that you give to others.
Do What You Can To Keep a Hopeful Attitude
Yes, the world can seem like a dark place sometimes. The best way to combat that darkness? Hope. When you maintain a hopeful attitude, it is much harder to feel helpless, stressed, and sad. Do what you can to maintain a spirit of hopefulness by believing that there is good in the world and there can be positive change. Wondering how to get started? Read websites like the “Good News Network,” or follow YouTube channels that highlight all of the positive moments that are taking place in the world. Fill up your cup with joy as much as possible. Alternatively, you can wear a piece of amazonite jewelry or place a piece in your home. This is known as “The Stone of Hope,” and it is also used to aid in communication and balance.
Being kind doesn’t mean you have to like everyone you encounter, but by leading with compassion, avoiding negativity, being proactively kind, and maintaining a sense of hope…it is possible to improve the lives of others and feel good about what you leave behind.