How To Be Kind

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Never get tired of doing little things for others.  Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest parts of their heart”  Unknown

For as long as I can remember,  I have consciously focused on kindness as a walking meditation.  Initially,  a commitment to kindness can start with a morning prayer or stepping out of one’s daily schedule for a moment to be quiet and affirm one’s commitment to look for opportunities to be kind.  Over time,  when these practices sink deeply enough into our hearts and souls,  being a bearer of small acts of kindness can become a powerful way of life.

If I am having a hard day,  a small act of kindness from a friend or loved one offers comfort deeper than words.  A hug or an arm around my shoulders can melt my tension or my tears.  A bouquet of flowers can make me smile.  On a good day,  a small act of kindness magnifies the joy.  It is always the right time to offer small acts of kindness.  Being a bearer of kindness can make you a ‘magical stranger’ in the life of a loved one or even a total stranger.

Some ideas of small ways to brighten someone’s day:

  1. Be fully present to the person in front of you.  Your full presence is a special gift.  It can make someone feel like they really matter,  that they are seen or that they are not alone.  Stopping,  taking a deep breath and really looking at someone,  gently witnessing and sensing how they are feeling can be a quiet and gentle gift.
  2. Help someone who appears to be lost or looking for something.  If a person in your aisle in the supermarket seems lost,  ask if you might be able to help them find something.  If someone on the street looks like they need directions,  stop and ask if you can help them find their way.
  3. When a big moment is coming up in a loved one’s life,  offer your support.  If a loved one is going to a medical test,  offer to go with them.  If a close friend is going for an important interview,  ask if they would like to talk it through before they go.
  4. When you greet someone or take leave,  make it a habit to give them a hug.  The ritual of greeting and bidding adieu to someone with a loving gesture,  instills a spirit of love and good will.
  5. Make it a habit to tell loved ones that you love them.  These words are often hard to say and they are not nearly said enough to the ones we love.  Speak your love abundantly.
  6. Make time to listen.  Sometimes a stranger needs a magical stranger who can listen for a little while.  They may be your neighbour on the trainer at the gym or someone whose path you cross on the sidewalk.  It can even be a family member, partner or friend who could really use a bit of your listening ear and heart.
  7. Make a special effort to give loved ones the things they most need and want.  Sometimes we react by pulling away when a loved one says they want or need something.  In our culture ‘need’ is often a four letter word.  There is incredible power in freely and spaciously giving someone something they want or need,  be it a foot rub,  their favorite meal or even a special loving glance.
  8. Adopt an attitude of ‘how can I help you?’   If you walk around life with a ‘how can I help you’ framework,  you will find yourself discovering many opportunities to offer small acts of kindness.
  9. Learn your loved ones ‘ love language’.  The ways we have learned to give love may not match up entirely with the way our friends and loved ones most feel loved.  Whether it be a touch of your hand,  gentle words, a thoughtful gift, special time or an act of service,  any one of these actions can be felt as particularly loving when it translates to a loved one’s love language.  It is cool to be kind!