While growing up, I was always taught to be kind even when I did not feel like it. But as I grew older, my definition and understanding of kindness have remarkably changed. For me, it does not mean being kind in the face of meanness but rather understanding when to stop, when to give space and when to hold on. For me, being kind is treating people well, supporting those in need, and lending a helping hand. I believe this definition may vary from person-to-person based on what they believe and their understanding of right and wrong.
This entry into our quarantine series tackles a topic slightly displaced from fitness and nutrition but does facilitate a healthier lifestyle by improving your mind and spirit.
It does not require a degree to figure out that the world would be a happier place if we made a little effort towards each other. If we just started treating others nicely, maybe they would change their attitude towards us as well. I believe we’re all inherently kind. We all have the “kind streak,” but we hold it back so that we don’t appear weak. Being kind makes you anything but weak; it gives you control; it teaches you compassion and empathy; it gets you the respect you deserve.
Be the Change You Desire
Rather than expecting behaviors to change towards you, why not be the change you wish to see? In these troubling days of prevalent systemic racism and pandemic quarantine, we all have multiple ways to step up for a good cause and to show kindness, empathy, and tolerance to those who need help or even just support. The best way to support change is to embody the change yourself. Find ways to get involved and show others how they can help too.
Words leave a huge impact. Sometimes we may not realize what we are saying, but as the words flow out of our mouth, they sting some. Avoid speaking disparagingly about anyone, even someone you dislike. Realize there is always more to people than they portray.
Does a friend need assistance moving? The old lady in the neighborhood needs help with groceries? Do it, help out. Little acts of kindness go a long way.
Sometimes we can try to be proactive by observing our surroundings and asking if others around us could use a helping hand. Always try to be mindful of your environment and try to be attentive to your neighbors, friends, co-workers, and even strangers.
Understanding emotions is a skill; it is tricky, especially when you are unaware of your own sometimes. Be empathetic by listening carefully, by acknowledging their efforts and noticing their actions. Try forming a healthy interpersonal relationship at work, school, or home.
Try showing respect to people, even the ones that don’t deserve it. You don’t have to follow the order if someone is horrid and mean, you can react more graciously because you are only in control of your own actions and not anyone else’s. A kind gesture from you might instigate them to act the same way.
Give Communication a Chance
Miscommunication is an obstacle in the way of a better relationship. Communication is the key to any relationship, whether with family, friends, or spouse. Talk about things that are bothering you and give them a chance to explain themselves. The most challenging situations involve communicating new, subtle information to our loved ones and friends. Let us start conversing more openly and unambiguously.
Learn to Forgive
Forgiveness seems impossible at times, but as life moves forward you realize how petty some disagreements are. Don’t hold on to feelings that hurt you and bring yourself to peace. Although you may have been bullied, be sure to never bully others and consider setting your mind by trying to forgive your bully sometime after the bullying has stopped.
Be tolerant; in your words, your actions, your decisions. Try understanding their perspective without jumping to conclusions and agree to disagree. Attempt to understand how another person may have his or her perceptions swayed by their life experiences, and consider why their behaviors and opinions may be different than yours.
Appreciate people who help you, who stand with you. Tell them that they matter and be there to support them when they need you. Sometimes we can show appreciation indirectly by paying it forward to others.
And most importantly,
Showing respect doesn’t mean giving anyone the liberty to walk all over you or trying to prove to be better than anyone else; it simply means you’ve matured enough to understand that no two people are the same. It is easy to forget yourself sometimes in doing so, but it is essential to continually remind ourselves that we deserve respect and nothing less. We have more control over our lives than we think. Even in marriage or a relationship, it sometimes becomes a norm allowing your partner to disrespect you. However, it is important to know when to draw the line. If you think you and your partner could benefit from couples counseling to resolve your issues of disrespect, check out ReGain.
There are 17 billion people in this world, each person with their own story, their past, their struggles, and their own opinions. We only see the part of people that they want us to see while the rest remains hidden from view. We should listen to our human tendencies to feel, to appreciate, to share, which can make a substantial impact on the people around us and in return on us. When we remember to treat people well, we enrich our own lives with feelings of kindness and compassion.