“Kindness” truly is what holds us together in society. It is the bond-creating superglue that keeps us afloat when times are rough.
When someone acts with kindness towards us, it makes us more willing to cooperate and work alongside that person. To welcome them into our sphere with open arms and an open heart. And not only is being kind the right thing to do, it is often the best thing we can do to make ourselves feel better too. It makes us feel like a “good person”, boosting our esteem and confidence in our own character. Win-win, right?
Imagine if we could rewire our brain to automatically think kind thoughts, act with kind intentions, pursue projects that SCREAM kindness? Well, we can.
Like absolutely everything in life, it comes down to practise and making something habitual. Every thought and action that we make fires neurons in our brain. When the “kindness” neuron pathways are fired more, it becomes easier to activate them in future (that has been put in very simple terms – science has never sat too well with me, I’m afraid!). Put concisely, the more we repeat acts of kindness, the more we’re likely to act kindly subconsciously in future.
Remember, kindness starts as a thought and ends as an action.
What I mean by this, is that the act of kindness has to be done with the right intention. Without intent, it is pointless.
- we might want to make someone feel surprised (buy them a bunch of £1 daffodils)
- we might want someone to feel relieved (offer to babysit to alleviate some of their stress)
- we might want someone to feel loved (write them a little love-note)
- we might want someone to feel heard (offer to meet them for a coffee – or a run!)
Taking a moment to pause and reflect on what you feel that person really needs is so key to acting with kindness in the right way. If your friend is feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by responsibility, now might not be the best time to invite them out to a party. Respect what they have going on and act accordingly.
Here’s some generic as f*ck kindness ideas to get you going on your journey to being a kinder human:
- SMILE – at yourself, at strangers, at colleagues, at life
- HOLD – the damn door open. For everyone.
- COOKIES – for the office! Everyone ends up loving you for sorting out the sugar slump
- COMPLIMENT – throw compliments around like confetti (but only when you really mean them)
- DRIVE – generously, let that old lady pull out
- LISTEN – but do it with intent, without interrupting the other person (whether you think they are talking b*llocks or not)
- GIVE – to a homeless person
- STEP BACK – and let that hurried-looking person go first in the queue
- DONATE – to the fundraiser your mate is doing for a marathon
- LEND – your favourite book to a friend, your umbrella to a colleague who needs it
- MAKE – small talk with the quiet person, they need someone to start the conversation. They are still human, still needing interaction, they just don’t know where to begin
- OFFER – your time! Is your friend hosting a dinner party? Offer to help her prepare
- POST – a letter to a family member you’ve not spoken to in a while
These are just some random ideas, but I’m sure you can think of some of your own too. Let me know your favourites in the comments!