“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ― Henry James
Recently, I was having an “off day” where I was ruminating about personal family matters as well as troubling world events. I was in my own head and just trying to complete the bare minimum of the day, when a neighbor dropped by with a drink and a cookie. She did this for no apparent reason aside simply Kindness.
You may have a coworker who grew up with a learning disability. Perhaps he or she struggled to read or write or even speak in public. Now this person holds a job but still struggles with confidence and self-esteem–insomuch that it is easier to compensate in other ways to avoid having to ask for what they need in the workplace. Do you know what helps this person make it through the day/month/year? Maybe it is a smile in the breakroom or holding the elevator at the end of the day, or simply just asking how your coworker is doing. Kindness.
Similarly, there are so many people out there carrying heavy burdens–it could be familial struggles, financial issues, invisible illnesses, etc. In fact, everyone you meet or know or interact with is facing something difficult! What is the secret to healing their unseen wounds? Kindness.
I am sure that you, like me, can remember the last time someone was really truly unforgettably kind to you. You, like me, felt genuinely grateful for this person’s kindness and that he/she would take the time and energy to extend some sunshine and goodness your way. This is how I felt when my neighbor showed up on my porch with my favorite drink and cookie. It made my day! It also made the world seem brighter and lighter and better than it was prior to her kind gesture. Why is that? It is because kindness is powerful.
Kindness has the power to impact your life as well as others; kindness has a reciprocal, ripple effect. When you are kind to someone else, you get a boost to your day and so does the person to whom you have shown kindness, and then you are both more likely to pay it forward. Even knowing and experiencing the power of kindness, it is hard to be kind all the time. Life is busy and stressful, and you likely feel pulled one million directions. The good news is… kindness does not require great amounts of time, effort, or money to share! I want to share some ideas that will help you be more kind throughout the natural course of your day:
Kindness originates from the simple act of doing to others what you wish them to do to/for you (aka: the golden rule). This might be being less judgmental, even when it is hard. It might mean biting your tongue when you have something less-than-nice to say. It might mean complimenting someone on something they said or did. It could be thanking the bus driver or person delivering your food. (Simply being aware of the people around you is a hugely impactful place to start! Many people feel invisible and simply being acknowledged and appreciated goes such a long way.) You can offer help if you know someone around you could potentially use a hand. Similarly, listening intently, being compassionate, and smiling at others are great, simple ways to be kind. If you have the time/resources/wherewithal, you can deliver treats or drop a meal off, or even simply pay for the person behind you when eating out. There are infinite ways to be kind and I am sure you will find so many more as you focus on being a little more kind to those around you.
Like I said, kindness is powerful. It affects both the giver and the receiver. Kindness has many benefits including increased happiness and a healthy heart. It slows down the aging process and improves relationships and connections, which indirectly boosts your health. Kindness has a direct impact on our immediate health. When you are kind, you help the woman struggling alone with personal stuff (me), or the coworker of yours who is feeling small and insecure at work and not asking for help, or any of the many people around you who are hurting and bearing invisible burdens. Everyone is fighting a battle. Kindness is the answer to start healing the unseen wounds all around us!
Melissa Cluff is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in North Texas, providing face-to-face and telehealth therapy options to clients in Texas.
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