“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain
Kindness is a virtue both underrated and vitally important to the wellbeing of our society as a whole. Kindnesses can be performed by any one, yet it is something that many of us don’t… at least not in a conscious way. Of course, some people have a more natural leaning towards kindness than others, but it is something that can very easily be invited into our behaviour with just a little desire and focus.
Kindness is so important because the fallout from an act of kindness benefits all who are involved in the act. Yes, by offering it to someone else, you are helping them, but it also helps towards enriching your own soul. A selfish thought, perhaps, but consider that this self-enrichment will spurn you on to act with deliberate kindness more often. Also, think about how your positive act may affect the person to whom you have directed it; hopefully this will get their mood up, put them in a positive headspace, and make them more likely to pass a kindness on to someone else.
A great way to transform your behaviour and reactions into ones that run parallel with kindness, is by performing random acts of kindness. A great starting point to the development of a more conscious and generous way of being…
1. Pay A Compliment
We, the British, can be a little prudish about giving, and indeed receiving, compliments. I, myself, find compliments oddly uncomfortable (doesn’t mean I don’t like them though!). The key to paying a compliment is that it must be genuine, and it must be given without the expectation of a return compliment. Not only does a compliment bring positivity to an interaction, but it is also a declaration; ‘I am paying attention to you, and am interested in you.’ It is a brilliant way to start a connection.
2. Help an Elderly Person
This is ‘the’ act of kindness. A vintage act. An image that we all associate with kind acts. Especially in an age where more and more elderly people are struggling and suffering from loneliness, an opportunity to not only help them to complete a task but enjoy a moment of genuine human connection should be taken. Whether it is helping them across the road, carrying their shopping, or having a conversation with them; it is worth it.
3. Pull Someone Out of A Pit
If you can see that somebody is having a tough time, is in a rut or is uncomfortable in a situation, try and pull them back up to the surface. This might be as simple as listening to them, offering them help or an assurance that you understand what they are going through.
4. Want Anything from the Shop?
Popping to the shop for a sandwich? Why not ask the room if they want anything before you go? Sometimes, when I do that and people say ‘no’, I will bring back biscuits any way. They didn’t know they wanted those biscuits when I left, but they sure wanted them when the packet got opened. People love a surprise… sometimes it just breaks up a long day!
There is no better gift than laughter. If you can make someone laugh, bring a little spark of joy into their day, then that is amazing. There is no better human gift than laughter. Not sure how? Well there are many ways, but the best way tends to be to poke fun at yourself.
6. Offer A Network Link
If there is an introduction you might be able to make between two people that may be of mutual benefit in there career or their personal life, why not take a minute and make that connection. This is something that many people don’t take time to do, as we are all extremely busy with higher priorities. So, when it does happen, it really is something special… something kind.
Next time you are in a coffee shop, why not pay another coffee forward for the next person. Or, if you are on the way to the coffee shop and spot a homeless person, why not take their order and drop it off to them on the way back out?
8. Send Flowers to A Friend
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like surprise flowers. If there is a friend you admire, or care for, or who needs a boost, then why not send them some flowers. A way of saying, ‘Hi there, you are great, and I am here for you.’ We all need to be reminded that somebody is thinking of us and has our back from time to time.
This article was written for us by International Mindfulness Advocate and Conscious Visionary, Neil Seligman. Neil is dedicated to sharing the power of mindfulness globally, transforming lives, and inspiring excellence in all aspects of human endeavour. He is the Founder of The Conscious Professional, the Author of 100 Mindfulness Meditations, and the Originator of Soul Portrait Photography. For more information about Neil, visit his page here