A positive way to begin the New Year, or any season, is with a self-commitment to have a kinder life. Sure there will always be ups and downs, highs and lows, but a change in perspective will bring more purpose and meaning to living.
Many of us were raised by parents who prioritized and praised our achievements and happiness over our concern for others. It’s important to balance our desires and needs with the needs of others, whether it’s sharing a sandwich with someone hungry, or providing an umbrella in the rain.
For some, this paradigm shift might be telling yourself (or someone), “the most important thing is to be kind” instead of “as long as, or the most important thing is that you (I am, he is, etc.) are happy.” It’s important that people inspire others by showing in their actions, that caring for others is a top priority.
Here are some tips and ideas to live a kinder life:
Address others respectfully, even if you are tired, angry, or distracted.
Emphasize spontaneous caring and kindness in your actions and thinking.
Studies prove that individuals who are in the habit of expressing thankfulness and gratitude are more likely to be healthy, happy, generous and forgiving. This adds up to a more compassionate life.
Making kindness second nature by daily repetition and practice. It’s how you learned to walk, talk and read.
It’s not necessary for children to be rewarded for each act of kindness. They should be expected to help around the house, be kind to others and be respectful without entitlements and rewards.
The world has plenty of evil and disasters in it. Talk about, dwell on, and seek acts of caring and kindness to think and discuss.
Expand your circle of kindness. The mother with young children, the elderly gentleman who needs help opening a door, the new classmate at school, the foreigner who can’t speak the language well, the police officer, or someone you don’t know, could all use some kindness in their lives.
Think about how your actions and decisions could impact others.
Learn to have concern for people who live in other countries, cultures and neighborhoods.
Be the example by being kind to the janitor, server, bus driver, ticket taker, and mail carrier—anyone that is part of your daily life.
Look for ways to be kind to the more vulnerable.
Acknowledge your mistakes, flaws and attitudes. Respect yourself so you can respect other’s feelings and perspectives. Know it is normal and okay to have down days or emotions, especially if you are dealing with tough situations, health problems, or being a caregiver for others.
Below are four ways to start having a kinder life right now.
- Compliment the first three people you come in contact with each day.
2. Beautify your surroundings and environment. Spend a couple of minutes several times a day doing something nice in your home, neighborhood, community or hometown. Pick up litter, for instance.
3. Write one thank you note each week to a different person for a year. You will have made a kind gesture, and perhaps changed the life of 52 people.
4. Each day, select a person to write an email, place a phone call or send a message of kindness to.