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
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.