Kindness Challenge: Day Nine of Twelve – Call a Good Friend You Don’t Often Speak With

 

We all have them. Great friends who – for whatever reason – we don’t often speak to. Friends with busy schedules, kids, hectic careers or even those living far away. Use today as an opportunity to call a friend you love but don’t speak to often and let them know you’re thinking about them.

 

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What’s in it for me? The transformative power of kindness and its inextricable link to long-term happiness Part Three

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we explored how to foster greater kindness within. This week we examine how we can make kindness work with our lifestyles.

 

Letting kindness work for you

 

When I worked in central London one of the main things I did was to talk to homeless people on the way back from work. I used to give them details of a local shelter where they could get a free lunch, shower and even some clothes. If I had any money I also used to buy them food so they wouldn’t go hungry. Most of all I listened to their problems, offered prayer support and treated them with the respect so many people didn’t afford them. Within a month of speaking to them I felt so much happier, I really felt as if I were making a difference and giving them hope for a better future.

 

When I changed job and moved into the suburbs there were no homeless people on my way to and from work so I began helping my friends make over their resumes and started giving money to causes I really cared about, like mental health and anti-trafficking charities.

 

One of the great things about kindness is that it can easily adapt to, and fit in with, your lifestyle. It’s flexible and there are endless ways to be kind that can fit in with your daily routine. You may not have homeless people you encounter in your day-to-day living but you can always give money to charity or give up your seat on the bus to an elderly man.

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What’s in it for me? The transformative power of kindness and its inextricable link to long-term happiness Part Two

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we explored the health benefits of kindness. This week we examine the different types of kindness and how to foster greater kindness within.

 

Types of kindness

 

Kindness can be either spontaneous or planned. Spontaneous kindness usually results from a need we see in others in the moment, like offering to carry an old ladies shopping bags when we can see she is struggling or asking a friend who looks upset if she wants to talk or if there’s anything we can do to help. In any given day there are many opportunities to show spontaneous kindness. Once we consciously look for these opportunities and act upon them when they arise, we develop a deeper sense of fulfillment and happiness in life.

 

Likewise kindness can also be planned. For example, for my parents 40th anniversary I sent them on honeymoon as they had never had one when they first got married. This was a meticulously planned event but nevertheless it was an act of kindness. The joy I felt in knowing that my parents had a luxury trip away – the type of holiday they would never have planned for themselves – was immense and made me feel incredibly happy.

 

How to foster greater kindness within

 

Empathy

 

Try to see things from others perspectives and understand that we are all united in so far as we all endure struggles and battle with our fears. If you don’t feel empathic towards others initially you can prompt loving feelings by being kind first, as often when we are kind, feelings of empathy naturally follow.

 

Be kind to yourself

 

Remember that you are just as worthy as everyone else. Take time to practice being kind to yourself too. Often this involves dismissing negative thinking and working on your self-esteem. If you find that you are continually failing to be kind to yourself, read my article on self-esteem and my more advanced article on self-compassion.

 

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