Being kind is the hallmark of a good person. Your mom probably taught you that you should always be kind to other people, kids, and animals, right? But in this stressful modern world, it’s not always easy to make kindness your top priority. It tends to go along with other things like patience and sympathy and calm. If you’re having a bad day or feeling stressed out, those are not easy feelings to live out. The best you can do is acknowledge your human limitations and resolve to be as kind as you can, whenever you can.
Here are five strategies to help you become a kind person.
- Learn to listen well
Most people don’t practice active listening. Watch what happens when people have a conversation. Frequently it’s two people taking turns saying what they want, not a two-way dialogue. If you're going to help someone feel better or solve a problem, the best thing you can do is listen. Really listen. Notice their body language, maintain eye contact, don’t rehearse what you’re going to say but give them the gift of being heard.
- Learn to really empathize
If you’re being an engaged listener, you will be able to pick up on how the other person is feeling. Their body language, their tone of voice and facial expressions, as well as their words, will give you clues to help you understand how they’re feeling, and what they might need from you. Try not to react or second-guess. Just observe and tune in.
- Learn to feel compassion
Being kind means you can put yourself in their shoes. You can feel their pain, hurt, or confusion. You don’t judge, criticize, or rush to advise. You just sit with them and acknowledge where they are right now. This is true empathy.
- Learn to give
Generosity is a key element of kindness. It’s up to you what you can choose to provide, whether it’s time, the space to listen, money, or other practical help. Volunteering is a great way to do something real and constructive when it might seem that the world is a perilous state.
- Learn to be sincere
Sincerity is another fundamental of kindness. You can’t sustain being kind for long if you don’t really mean it! Try to train yourself to look for the good in people, things or situations and act with sincerity and kindness.
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