We come across all kinds of people in our lives. Some of them we like, some of them we don’t.
Some of them like us, some of them don’t. That’s perfectly fine.
One thing bugs me though. No matter how much we might dislike each other, how come we can’t find it in ourselves to be kind to one another?
How come we can’t find it in ourselves to care about other human beings?
The theme of not recognizing that people have lives we know nothing about and can’t possibly understand is so present in books, movies, even TV shows and yet, we hardly ever give people the benefit of the doubt and stop to ask ourselves if we’re treating each other right.
We are aware of all the struggles in our own life, and we walk around like they are the only struggles that matter.
Rarely do we ask ourselves if someone else is carrying a heavy load, if we might be able to help them just by being a bit kinder and more approachable.
Lately I’ve been reading all these posts on social media about people who used to pretend that their lives were perfect and have decided to raise their voices and tell their true stories for the first time.
It dawned on me how, even without social media, we choose how we represent ourselves, but no one ever really knows what’s happening with us.
We might be missing only a one small detail from the person’s life that would make us aware of the whole picture.
There are many things that could have happened in someone’s past or could be happening in their current lives that would completely change your view of them if you knew.
Your chubby friend might have struggled with an eating disorder she’s finally cured and then you tell her she should lose weight to look more attractive.
Your coworker might have a sick child at home and you constantly discuss how they could be trying harder.
Being kind matters. It brings us closer to others. It brings others closer to us.
It creates a human connection that helps everyone achieve a certain level of trust, love, and empathy.
People are quick to judge. We see a pregnant teen and we immediately think of how irresponsible she’s been – and we don’t stop at that.
We think about how her parents must have raised her to end up pregnant in her teenage years.
We even feel sad someone wasn’t there to give her solid life advice before she ”ruined her life”.
No one ever thinks that she may have been raped.
We see a child in the playground acting aggressively or in a restaurant running around unable to calm down and we think about how the child’s parents aren’t raising them the right way.
It never crosses our minds that the child might have a mental illness that causes them to act a bit differently.
My point is, people go through their own hard times, there are things we know nothing about.
Your coworker might be having difficulties in their home life and you go on and on to them about an unimportant thing they could have maybe done differently at work.
You go to take a walk, to the movies, to the grocery store and you meet all these people with life stories that are different than yours, and God knows some of those stories are honestly heartbreaks and yet you only see yourself and your own needs.
Everyone has something going wrong for them on any given day.
Choosing positivity is the only thing that can help us all live happier lives.
Have you ever been through something so difficult you felt like there was no way you were coming out of that mess alive?
Did you have anyone – a family member or a friend – to help you through that horrific period of your life and help you feel better?
If you did, you know how important it is for people to help other people.
If you didn’t, you know even better than most that all someone who’s struggling needs is a lifeline, an honest connection with other human beings.
The thing is, we get easily frustrated with things we perceive as other people’s mistakes.
When a loved one or our best friend does something wrong, we know when they are having a bad day or going through something and we, sure enough, easily get past that.
When a stranger or someone we really know nothing about does something ”wrong” we snap almost immediately.
Wouldn’t it be easier, more humane, and even more practical to give them the benefit of the doubt and kindly try to resolve our misunderstanding? It sure would.
Be kind to each other. Put effort into actively thinking about other people and their lives.
Don’t jump to conclusions, don’t judge, and don’t be selfish.
Don’t think you’re better than anyone just because you’re having a better day, month, or year.
Bad things don’t happen to bad people. Things happen. Bad things happen to everyone.
Helping someone else go through their struggles gives you more chance of living in a world where everyone cares about everyone.
We all have to pitch in and add to the world’s huge bowl of kindness – that way we all get to take some when we need it.
Self love is really important, but loving other people is important too.
Keep in mind that despite everything you’ve been through, chances are someone else has been through it as well, or something even worse.
You’re not the only person that has had difficulties in your life, but you might be the only person able to make someone’s day, so why not use that chance?
50 Random Ways to Show Kindness
1. Give your attention.
2. Offer your seat to someone on the train, bus, or subway.
3. Facebook message a friend from the past and thank them for something they did years ago.
4. Return someone’s grocery cart for them.
5. Bake for your neighbour.
6. While you’re at it, bake for your coworkers.
7. Pay for the person behind you on your coffee run.
8. Thank a high school teacher or mentor who had an impact on your life.
9. Offer to help someone with their luggage at the airport.
10. Hold the door open for a parent with their stroller.
11. Bring baked goods and fresh flowers to a grandma from your street
12. Always talk kindly about people you know
13. Don’t gossip
14. Bring dinner to a friend in need.
15. Offer to do laundry for a friend in need.
16. Wash someone’s car.
17. Mentor a junior employee at work; offer to help them with their resume.
18. Forgive someone for something they did.
19. Let someone who’s in a hurry skip you in line.
20. Offer to walk your friend or neighbour’s dog.
21. Buy a deck of inspirational cards and leave them for people at random: on windshields, at desks, on doorsteps.
22. Buy an extra cup of coffee or warm breakfast and offer it to the homeless person standing outside the door.
23. Nominate someone for an award who deserves it (like a “best boss” or “employee of the year” award).
24. Offer your mail carrier a drink or snack.
25. Offer to babysit for someone who needs a break.
26. Visit a nursing home.
27. Compliment someone — anyone!
28. Compliment a parent on his or her child’s behavior.
29. Add coins to a parking meter that’s about to expire.
30. Help a friend move.
31. Give someone a ride who needs it.
32. Offer the gardener, plumber, or handyman a cup of coffee or tea.
33. Gently distract yelling kids sitting next to you on the plane. Offer to read them a book or tell them a funny story so their parents can have a short break.
34. Offer to donate your vacation time or sick days to a coworker struggling with a long-term illness or taking care of a sick parent or kid.
35. Offer directions to someone who is lost.
36. Celebrate someone who needs celebrating.
37. Volunteer at an orphanage.
38. Make someone else’s bed.
39. Share your knowledge with someone who needs it.
40. Share herbs from your garden.
41. Share a good recipe.
42. Say “good morning” to anyone who crosses your path.
43. Publicly praise a coworker for going above and beyond.
44. Pick some flowers and randomly give them to people
45. Donate clothes you no longer wear.
46. Donate old blankets and towels to an animal shelter.
47. Buy a meal for someone who’s hungry.
48. Brighten someone’s day with flowers.
49. Send a copy of a photo to the person in it.
50. Help an old person cross the street.
There are many little things you can intentionally do to make someone happier.
The most important acts of kindness are those done in our everyday life, respecting other human beings and treating them the same way we hope to be treated.
Be someone’s ray of sunshine on a rainy day.