Kindness for me, is one of the most important things in the world. Kindness is something that I believe truly makes us human. It can make our day, put a smile on our face, be someone’s reason to be – and the best part? It’s completely free. It costs absolutely nothing to be nice. Kindness can change the world, I truly believe that.
“Be the reason that someone smiles today.”
The world can be a really cruel and scary place, more so by the day it seems, and for me, kindness is more important than ever. Here are some small acts of kindness, that can really change the mood of your day, and someone else’s. Kindness doesn’t just benefit us, it benefits others around us. It’s contagious, so let’s spread it.
TRY TO THINK THE BEST OF PEOPLE.
Has anyone ever said to you “when I first met you I thought you’d be like this …”?
A stranger is a friend that you just haven’t met yet, my grandad used to tell me that. It’s so easy to turn on the news, see horrible acts against humanity, and just think the worst in people. You could have someone bump into you in the street and not apologise, you’re then taking them at face value as miserable and cold, when really they could’ve just had the worst phone call of their life, or be really late for a job interview. We never know anyone’s context or behind the scenes, and I really try not to judge people, when I don’t know them. The same goes for social media, people choose what they want you to see, you don’t see beyond that, their struggles, or bad days, their lack of confidence, or break ups. Don’t accidentally add to someone’s load, when you don’t know what weight is already on their shoulders. Now I know often, preconceptions can be correct, and people let us down, but if you go with an open mind as to someone’s character, it leaves it up to them to decide who they want to become in your eyes. You don’t have to like everyone, we’re human, but everyone deserves a chance, wouldn’t you say?
OUT AND ABOUT
Say hello to people next to you on the bus.
Yesterday when most seats were taken, I sat next to an elderly gentleman, and decided I would say good morning to him, and instead of the usual awkwardness of sitting so close to a stranger, yet not acknowledging one another at all, what ensued was such a lovely conversation, that wouldn’t have happened was it not initiated. It made my journey quicker and it was really interesting talking to him. By saying “Good Morning” etc, it let’s someone know that you’re a friendly face and you don’t have to have the awkward damn-it why wasn’t there an empty chair smile as someone sits next to you.
“Kindness in work creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
Offer your seat up, if you are able. In my opinion it’s just a little sign of respect, whether it’s a someone holding a baby, someone with an injury, an elderly person, or a child, by offering your seat you’re helping make someone’s journey a little more comfortable. If anyone ever asked me to give up a seat, I’d also jump at it. Injuries and disabilities can be invisible, and I don’t think anyone would ask just to be rude. It’s nice to be nice.
Offer out your bus ticket. Whenever I buy a day travel ticket, and my journey is over, I always try and offer out my ticket, or leave it at the bus stop for someone else to find. It’s just a little action which saves someone money, but more importantly it will make them smile, and give them a nice start to their journey, or day. Again, it costs you nothing!
Has a stranger ever come up to you and complimented you in the street? It’s the nicest feeling because they have nothing to gain from it, and their small words of kindness gives you confidence and a little more faith in humanity. Now I’m not saying be creepy by any means, and never give a compliment just to get one back, but if you see someone in a shop and think ‘I like her dress’, or ‘her lipstick is lovely’ etc then go over and tell them! I know it can feel a little silly, but it’ll give them a genuine boost, and you never know, they might have really needed that today. I always make sure to do this when I first meet someone as well. It’s bound to get a smile out of them, and sometimes it can be an ice breaker!
“Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.”
Smile. Smiling actually tricks the brain into believing that you are happy, and releases positive hormones into your body. Now I know that there’s nothing worse than smiling at someone in the street, and having them stare back at you like you’ve just slapped them across the face, (story of my life if I ever got to London) BUT you can hold your head high knowing that you’ve embraced them with a little bit of kindness, and having someone smile back is just a tiny little bit of human interaction which makes you step a little lighter.
Ask a cashier, waitress, sales advisor etc ‘how are you?’. It’s a tiny little question, but having asked customers it all day, to hear it back will actually mean something, and put a smile on someone’s face. Just because someone is in uniform and wearing a badge, doesn’t mean that they are not a human for the duration of their shift, and kindness can go a long way.
Are cocktails or coffees etc 2 for 1, but you’re alone? Tell the bartender to keep the second for the next customer that comes along. They’ll be happily surprised, and will maybe be inspired to do it for someone else another time.
Thank someone. Now I know that particularly in restaurants, a way of thanks is mainly expressed via a small tip, which will be greatly appreciated, but it doesn’t have to just be that. If you don’t have change for example, by just going up to them and thanking them for their service personally, it will be warmly received. After all, as silly as it sounds, it really is the thought that counts.
If you’re at a train station and someone doesn’t have change for the toilet facilities but you have some spare, offer it to them. We’ve all been on both sides, and everyone needs a little helping hand sometimes.
Give Blood for the NHS. It takes 30 minutes, and it can save up to three whole lives a time. I’m a huge advocate for this. One day, if I, or anyone I loved ever needed it, I know that there are kind people out there who would have ensured that I get what my body needs, so I want to do the same.
Are you thinking of someone? Send them a text and let them know. By all means it doesn’t have to be as long as my blog posts (thank god), but just ‘Hey. I’m thinking about you, let’s catch up.’ Getting texts out of the blue from someone, is a great way of being made to feel loved and cherished.
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” Oscar Wilde.
Practice positivity on social media. The same goes with the street compliments, do it online! If you see someone’s Instagram post and you liked it, go and tell them! If someone tweets that they’ve just done well on a test, congratulate them! If it’s someone’s birthday, let them know you’re thinking of them. It really does take 20 seconds to put out a comment, and if it makes someone smile, isn’t that worth it? Imagine if every good thought that someone had, they would put out for the world to see? Social media would be a far more positive place!
Join Facebook community groups. I’ve never really used Facebook groups before, but with blogging, and University I started to join some, and it really has shone a light on the positive side of social media. Everyone is so supportive, and wants to help each other out, whether it be people asking questions on a module and everyone jumping to assist them, or everyone congratulating each other on reaching their own personal blog goals. Support really is out there, and it’s so nice to come online and know that help is out there if I ever need it, and that people are there too. And I am one of them. If anyone ever needs to talk, my social media’s are all on this website. I may talk a lot but I’m also a good listener!
Give up gossip. I’ve made a vow lately to really try and not listen to, or get involved in gossip. It’s so easy to get caught up in an unkind conversation, but we all know how it feels to have one such conversation about you, and the majority of the time it’s not even true! Speak about people the way you’d like people to speak about you.
Order delivered food to someone’s house. My boyfriend lives across the other side of England to me, and one thing I love being able to do is order delivered food, little random gifts/care packages etc to his house, just to surprise him and let him know how loved he is.
Make someone breakfast in bed, for absolutely no reason. This isn’t limited to birthdays and special occasions, show someone how loved they are.
Cook someone dinner (possibly their favourite, depending on your skill set).
Give them a massage.
Do their chores or housework, so that when they’ve finished work, they can just relax.
Compliment your loved ones. Everyone knows that family are brutally honest so coming from them, it will mean a lot. Go and tell your mum she looks beautiful, tell your little brother his drawing is great. My boyfriend every time we wake up, tells me that I look beautiful, and though I don’t feel it with messy hair and bags under my eyes, the fact that he’s said it makes me wake up with the biggest goofy grin.
Listen to people. Be interested, not interesting. Let people know that you are here for them.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
You can’t spend time being kind to others but not yourself. Take care of yourself, exercise, learn, read, reflect. You have to care for yourself, so that you are ready to care for others too.
Forgive and forget. Humans can do and say horrible hurtful things, and it’s so easy to harbour that. There’s not always a reason to forgive someone, have they changed? Probably not. Would they do/say it again? Probably. But you can forgive them holding your head high, knowing that they are left to their own devices and you are no longer carrying their burden.
Walk, if you can, wherever is in reasonable distance. I always try to walk, where possible, instead of using public transport.
Now my boyfriend lives in Birmingham, so that isn’t exactly always possible, but I always try and walk if it’s under 1.5 hours, to where I’m wanting to be. It’s good exercise for me and it saves that carbon footprint just a little!
Use reusable water bottles. I stand by my Chilly’s one and couldn’t recommend it enough. It looks beautiful, keeps my water freezing, and saves so many plastic bottles being wasted by the year.
Have reusable shopping bags. Now you know you’ve become an adult when you have a reusable bag collection. Not only does it save you that 5p or 10p charge for plastic bags, but it’s helping the environment and also makes life a lot easier when carrying things, instead of depending on an easily breakable bag.
Shop in Charity shops! Now I’ll be honest, there’s nothing more I love than a New Look or Topshop raid but I always make a real effort to go into charity shops. Not only are you doing your bit but I’ve found some amazing bargains inside. I also always try and either eBay old clothes, again giving them to another home instead of wasting them, or take them to charity shops. They’re always so grateful, and you know that none of it has been a waste!
“Be kind whenever possible.
It is always possible.” – The Dalai Lama
Has a random act of kindness ever stuck with you, and influenced how you act towards strangers now? I’d love to hear about it! #BeKind.