A simple act of kindness can make a huge difference to the person on the receiving end. In fact, it just might set off a ripple effect that can positively touch the lives of many more people than one might believe possible. From a genuine smile to a stranger, volunteering to feed the homeless, or donating money to a favorite charity, our collective efforts offer a counter to the all too pervasive trend of hatred, anger, bigotry, and despair that plagues humanity. Your single commitment to become a bit kinder each day is exactly what is needed to create a happier and healthier place for all of us.
Join our movement to ignite the world with kindness! To get started, here are some surprisingly easy ideas on ways to be kind.
Say “I love you” more often. For the special people in your life, let them know how much you care about them as often as possible.
Hold the door open for another. Instead of rushing through a doorway, keep it open for anyone who is walking right behind you.
Help with a task or household chore. Offer your assistance to someone who might be struggling to undertake and complete an activity or project. Do it without expecting anything in return.
Compliment others. Be generous in showing others how much you appreciate who and what they are through meaningful praise.
Be polite and respectful. Value others by treating them with civility. Using the words “please” and “thank you” in your interactions with them is a good way to begin.
Ask “how are you” and wait for a response. Show an honest interest in someone by asking about his or her well-being.
Give a hug. There is nothing better than a warm hug or embrace to convey your positive feelings toward another person.
Say “I’m sorry” and mean it. Be willing to apologize for the things that you have wrongly done or said to others. Admit to your mistakes.
Send out a thoughtful text or email. Surprise a friend or family member by giving them a well-crafted message that will brighten their day.
Listen with compassion. Concentrate on listening to another with the intent to understand. Be attentive, demonstrate interest, and avoid judgment throughout the interaction. Sometimes all people need is a chance to vent.
Forgive and forget. While not always easy to do, stop harboring negative thoughts and feelings about another. Practice the art of forgiveness and learn how to let go.
Share your knowledge with others. Be willing to serve as a good resource of information that will enable others to learn and grow.
Respect someone’s wishes. Allow people the freedom to make their own choices and discover their own course of action. Honor their decisions unless they prove to be harmful to those involved.
Stop criticizing. Build up people’s self-esteem by focusing on the positive and not tearing them down with your assessment of their faults or mistakes.
Share a smile. Greet people with a genuine smile to acknowledge their worth.
Surprise someone with a gift. Although it doesn’t have to be anything expensive or extravagant, demonstrate your kindness by offering a friend, family member, or even a stranger a cup of coffee, small bouquet of flowers, or some other simple token of care or love.
Spare a moment of your time. One of the best gifts you can give another is quality time to positively focus your attention on him or her.
Protect the environment. Do your part to keep your immediate surroundings clean, and safe for others. Picking up litter, reporting suspicious activities, and perhaps even planting a tree or flowers can go a long way towards this.
Donate to your favorite charity. There are many worthy charities in need of donations, including food, clothing, and money. Contribute to the ones that best align with your interests.
Volunteer. While volunteering is essentially unpaid services, it offers priceless benefits to your community in terms of good will and quality of life. Explore your options and carve out the time to be an active volunteer.
Make it a habit to spread kindness wherever you go and watch how much positivity will come out of it.
Every act of kindness grows the spirit and strengthens the soul. – Author Unknown
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 a contributing member to 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.