An Added Touch Of Kindness
In a world far too consumed by anger, hatred, and despair, an extra dose of kindness from all of us just might balance things out. By definition, kindness is the gesture of being friendly, generous, and considerate to others. Oddly enough, these qualities are likely to take little time, money, or effort to execute but can have a surprisingly profound effect on the morale and goodwill of the recipient.
For simple but effective ways to spread kindness, expand your repertoire to include the following:
(1) Approach others with a cheerful attitude. There is nothing like a smile and a show of genuine interest to make people feel welcomed.
(2) Get to know tidbits of information about the people who interface with you at work, school, church, and other venues. Use this knowledge to spark a meaningful interaction with them.
(3) Take time to learn and address people by their names to convey your awareness of who and what they are.
(4) Be punctual when you have a scheduled meeting or appointment with someone. Being late tells others that you have little value for their time.
(5) Show you care by being attentive to what a person is saying. Use eye contact and ask questions to demonstrate your interest.
(6) Publicly acknowledge and offer praise to someone for a job well done. Such a display of recognition can work wonders.
(7) Give an individual an unexpected gift to brighten up his or her day. A lunch invitation, gift card to Starbucks, box of chocolates, plate of homemade cookies, or bouquet of flowers are all affordable ways to express your care.
(8) Don’t ignore people by leaving them out of activities or conversations that may be significant to them. Sometimes the very act of inclusion is all people need to feel like they matter.
(9) Have empathy for people who come across as being rude, agitated, or inconsiderate. You never know what they might be going through to trigger their negativity. A kind word or gesture may be exactly what they need to convert a bad day into a good one.
(10) Express your gratitude whenever an individual has gone out of the way to support you. No matter how small the task, saying “thank you” for lending a hand is a nice touch.
(11) A sincere compliment on a person’s appearance or achievement is a surefire way to lift his or her spirits. This feel-good tactic can additionally inspire the person to keep up with their progress.
(12) When requesting help from others, use the word “please” to signify respect and consideration. In the long run, a polite request for assistance will produce more favorable results than simply issuing an order.
(13) Go out of your way to be kind to those individuals you dislike. Sometimes, they are the ones who need it most.
(14) Provide encouragement to others who might be struggling. A little support on your part might motivate them to see and do things in a way that improves their well being.
(15) Along with being authentic and honest in your dealings with others, be tactful. There is no reason to be hurtful with your truths when you can adopt a way to say it in the right way at the right time.
(16) Genuine kindness isn’t about manipulating a person into giving you what you want. If you are trying to be kind to get something in return, your actions are counter to what kindness is all about.
There is nothing like kindness to build connections and meaningful interactions with the people around you. Be it a stranger or a loved one, a simple act of kindness can instantaneously engender feelings of endearment and appreciation for all involved, including you.
Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living
Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A. in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College, a large community college in Southern California. She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member at Boise State University and on the Board for LEARN Idaho. Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging. As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.