Life is sometimes hard but the best way to make it easier is by doing what we can to enhance the lives of others. If these last months have taught us anything, it’s that we can be a little kinder to ourselves, to each other and the world.
So, where do we start? Here are some key habits that will build more kindness in our daily lives.
It’s easy to go about life on autopilot. When we are simply getting through each day, focused on what we have to do, we can become self-absorbed. Instead, this is the occasion to open our eyes and look for opportunities to connect with others. Have we noticed the person struggling to carry their load or do we appreciate the person who opened the door for us or let us go first in line? A simple thank you, though small, is a meaningful way to interact and acknowledge the kindness of others.
Rather than judging someone without knowing them, it’s much kinder to imagine what their life is like and respond with compassion. For example, don’t dismiss someone who needs your attention; instead of ignoring them, try to picture what their day has been like. It’s possible, they have experienced rebuff and rudeness all day. Consequently, try not to be indifferent, instead, discontinue what you are doing for a minute and hear them out.
We don’t always have to be heard. Listen to other’s viewpoints. How are we as a society, going to come together if we remain stagnant in our own fears and realities that are shaped only by our contexts? A better slant is if we were to place ourselves in another person’s shoes, actively electing to view the world beyond ourselves.
Good manners don’t start and end with saying please and thank you. They encompass a comprehensive recognition of another person’s feelings, and behaving accordingly. Let us follow the Bible’s golden rule; ‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you’ (Matthew 7:12). We must consequently regard others as we want to be regarded; from being punctual (respecting others’ time) to not talking over others (exercising self-control), to actively listening to what others have to say. In essence, we must value the sentiments of others.
Even when we don’t feel like it, we need to be patient. It can be difficult to exercise patience when we feel stressed or overwhelmed. However, that’s all the more reason to find the motivation to be patient and work on it. Even when others don’t respond with patience, why not use this as an opportunity to set a better example of how courtesy is important for everyone?
Saying sorry is huge because it means we are acknowledging and regretting our actions. It is taking a huge step in admitting the hurt we have caused others and can go a long way to healing and reconciliation. Apologising is the process where we piece open our pride, reflect on our shortcomings and re-establishes the dignity of those we have hurt, intentionally or otherwise. St Paul reminds us to ‘Be kind to each other, sympathetic, forgiving each other as God has forgiven you through Christ’ (Ephesians 4:32).
Do Something for Others
Start each day by doing something for others. Instead of waking up and reaching for our phone, let us reach out to someone instead. It might mean calling a friend for their birthday or sending someone doing it tough a message of encouragement. The upside to kicking off our day with a simple act of kindness is our mood will lift and help set us up for a positive day.
Let us make every effort to live in peace with others by being kind, tender-hearted and forgiving. It doesn’t take much, just one kind word or act can change someone’s day.