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.
Below is a list of ideas to help kick start your way towards a kinder, happier, you:
- Smile and say good morning or hello to a stranger on the street
- Give directions to someone who is lost
- Tell those you love how much they mean to you
- Buy a homeless person some food
- Offer to run errands for a frail elderly neighbor
- Donate old clothes to a charity shop
- Offer your seat on a train or bus to an elderly, pregnant or disabled person
- Give compliments freely
- Give money to charity
- Buy food for a food bank
- Volunteer in a homeless shelter
- Leave a kind note or joke on a friends desk or in their house
- Send a thank you note
- Treat someone to a meal out who has always been generous with you
- Give good feedback to the managers of customer service personnel who have helped you
- Use your strengths to help others e.g. writing resumes or even helping to create a budget for your friend who struggles with money management
- Plan a surprise birthday party for a friend
- Help organize an anniversary celebration for a close family member
- Leave your favorite book on a bus or train with a note to whoever finds it
- Give an inspiring book or email an uplifting article to a friend who is going through a tough time
As I recall that elderly African man and my mother’s wise words I’m reminded that even a seemingly small gesture can make a huge and lasting impact upon someone. In response to my kindness I get an insight into the beauty within people and as a result, the world feels like a friendlier, more compassionate place.
Even in small acts of kindness you cannot help but become happier and more fulfilled in life. It is a virtuous cycle – kindness and compassion breed happiness, which leads to more acts of kindness.
I challenge you to do just one act of kindness for a stranger so, as Tony Robbins would say, you too can experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment. For those that are ready to have their lives transformed, try doing one act of kindness every day for a month – at the very least you will brighten up thirty people’s lives and most likely your happiness will skyrocket whilst your world becomes more beautiful, more compassionate and more wondrous as a result.
Do you feel inspired to take the thirty day challenge or extend greater kindness to strangers? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.
- Make a list of kind things you could do for the homeless.
- Do one kind thing for a homeless person this week.