Kindness is everything. It is a smile to a stranger that brightens their day and a surprise compliment that boosts someone’s self-esteem. Kindness can be a small gesture or a great showing. It takes nothing to be kind and most of the time, kindness is simply an extension of being polite. So why is it that the world seems so unkind a lot of the time?
Spreading kindness and peace amongst friends is easy because you already have a natural rapport. Being kind to people close you also makes a lot of sense because you have a vested interest – you want them to be kind to you too. Spreading kindness a little further is a greater challenge but it something that people like Prem Rawat are determined to achieve.
Here’s how you can spread a little kindness of your own.
There is a lot of pressure to act a certain way, look a certain way and be a certain way. Peer pressure has an incredible impact on people and it often flies under the radar so you may not even realize the pressure that you are putting on yourself and others to conform to a certain ideal. Learning to feel great about yourself cannot be underestimated.
The greatest act of love and kindness you can achieve is learning to accept yourself and others for who you are. Being your authentic self isn’t easy sometimes, but giving yourself that freedom by gradually and steadily pushing out your boundaries will really help.
Share Your Ideas
Discussing ideas with people can be difficult – especially if you disagree with them. However, talking to people, and people you disagree with, is also a great act of kindness. Sharing your experience and understanding of life is incredibly personal and giving someone else a chance to share with you is invaluable.
Talking and sharing ideas is as much about listening as it is about what you say. A kind conversation is not forceful or defensive. Try to be open and curious rather than aggressive with your own opinions. This is advice from Megan Phelps-Roper, who was brought up in the Westboro Baptist Church but who gradually shifted her opinions with help from strangers on Twitter through open and honest conversation. Dialogue works best when you are calm and neutral; aggression or anger from you will only provoke whoever you are talking to.
Small Acts of Kindness
Of course, kindness isn’t just about who you are or how you talk; kindness is also about how you act. Small acts of kindness, from holding a door open to making someone a cup of tea, all build up over time and become habitual. And, since one act of kindness often inspires another, you could find that the kinder you are to those around you, the kinder they are to you in return.
Spreading kindness takes time and you aren’t going to change the world overnight. However, being more open, honest and compassionate might just change your corner of the world. You have to try.