By Abigail Mathew, Alliance for Sustainability Intern
How to Show Kindness to Others
Kindness doesn’t have to be a large act for someone else, but rather it can be a small random act of kindness for one another. Regardless of the act, kindness is rooted in these four principles: awareness, unconditionality, non-judgment, and action. First and foremost, in order to be kind, you must be aware of all the various times and opportunities to be kind to others. If we are too absorbed in our own world, we will never recognize those opportunities and miss countless opportunities to be kind.
Next, you have to be unconditional with your kindness. You have to offer kindness and help without the expectation of getting anything in return. It will take a lot of practice to be kind unconditionally. Understanding that the real reward for kindness is the inner positivity you provide for yourself and others, rather than any sort of external reward and recognition, will help you come to terms with being unconditional.
Another principle needed to practice kindness is to be non-judgemental. It is not our place to judge the good or bad of another person’s situation, rather view the situation as an opportunity for us to be kind.
Last but definitely not least, you have to act. Obviously awareness without any action can’t be kind. You should always try to act in a generous, friendly, and considerate manner to the person in front of us.
Be Kind to Yourself
Being kind to yourself involves the tips I mentioned above, but also three more tips specific to self-kindness, which are: self-awareness, generosity, and avoiding comparison. First, to start off the cycle of being kind to yourself, you must practice self-awareness. To start off, you must be aware of what you are telling yourself and how often you are being negative or hard on yourself. The next step is then to be aware of the opposite and notice how often you are praising yourself or recognizing things that you are good at or positive things about yourself.
After learning to practice self-awareness, the next step is to be generous with yourself. People don’t hesitate to give themselves and their time to other people, and yet at the same time find it difficult to be equally generous with themselves. So, give yourself time to do things just for yourself like disconnecting from technology for a few hours or getting out into nature.
Finally, one of the last steps you should take for yourself is to avoid comparison with others. We live in a world filled with advertising, social media, and TV that constantly shows us and reminds us how we are not living the supposed “perfect life” and that we don’t measure up to other people. If you fall into the comparison trap, it is a direct route to lots of negative self-talk and critique on yourself. The most important thing to remember about advertisements and social media is that you are seeing the perfect snapshots of people’s lives, or as you might say the highlight reel, rather than seeing the everyday struggles and pressures that they are facing. Therefore, it is unfair of you to compare yourself at your worst to someone else’s best moments. With all this being said, practicing kindness is difficult, so just start off with that first step of being self-aware and the rest will soon follow.
Be sure to show yourself and those around you some kindness!