Being kind seems like such a simple thing. We all learned about manners and being polite at a young age. But, it is shocking how fast those things disappear when you grow up and have so many other things to worry about. The thing is, being kind is just as important as everything else. Knowing how to be kind to yourself and how to be kind to others really helps you and the world.
Being kind isn’t an extra. It isn’t something you feel like doing. It is part of your day that improves your mood and everyone else’s. Kindness is contagious. When one person is kind, it becomes a domino effect. People are inspired by the kindness of others and it makes everyone better.
In reality, being kind falls by the wayside so often. It is something we don’t focus on, and when we go on with our lives, without kindness, we become rude, short-tempered, and unhappy. Showing kindness both to ourselves and others is something we must actively do.
[Read: How to treat people better and live a much happier life in return]
We all know what being kind means, right? Maybe not.
The definition of being kind is being friendly, generous, and considerate. But, it goes beyond that. It is about thinking of others, but also considering yourself. Kindness doesn’t mean you put others before yourself. It means caring. You should care about yourself, and about others, and put effort into showing that.
Kindness is letting yourself relax when you haven’t finished all your work because you deserve a break. Kindness is helping someone who dropped their bag of groceries. It is paying it forward. It is smiling at a stranger.
[Read: Pay it forward and create a chain of goodwill with these 20 positive tips]
Being kind isn’t just the actions you take. It is the reason behind those actions. It is why you do the things you do. Being kind to yourself isn’t the same as being selfish. Being kind to others isn’t about what they will do for you in return. It sounds cheesy, but being kind is a way of life. It is a choice you make, and it impacts you every day.
Being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others. If you don’t love yourself and show yourself that you matter, all the kindness you show to the world doesn’t impact you. You need to know you deserve kindness from others but that starts with being kind to yourself.Would you talk to your friends and family the way you talk to yourself in the mirror? You need to appreciate yourself for who you are and what you offer the world. Not to mention, being kind to yourself improves your overall happiness which in turn makes you more enjoyable to be around. It puts you in a better mood and rubs off on others. Being kind to yourself actually helps you to be kinder to others.
[Read: How to be happy in life with these 12 hacks to find real happiness inside]
But, where do you start? How can you be kind to yourself?
Taking time to focus on what makes you happy is so important. Whether you’re focused on work or others, taking time to nourish your passions and hobbies is so important.
You deserve to do things for yourself. Take that painting class. Learn how to cook. Do the things you keep putting off. Showing yourself that what you enjoy is important, is showing kindness to yourself.
We rarely do this. In our society, everything is about being better and not being good enough. But, put dieting ads and photoshop to the side. You compliment friends and strangers, but when you look in the mirror, you criticize.
Look in the mirror and compliment yourself, physically or not. Write affirmations and tape them to the mirror too. Compliments from others feel good, but you’re with yourself 24/7. How you think and talk to yourself is important. [Read: How to build self esteem and love your life with a few simple changes]
Whether you got a promotion or parallel parked in a crowded city, celebrate those wins. Have a bowl of ice cream or a glass of champagne. Don’t overlook the things you’re proud of yourself for.
For instance, I have a lot of anxiety about driving. Recently I took a long trip by myself. I could have talked down to myself and said anyone can do that, and that it isn’t a big deal. Instead, I patted myself on the back and was proud that I did something that scared me, no matter how small it may seem to others. It was important to me and taking that time to acknowledge it, was kind.
Exercise, drink enough water, and eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Feeding your body with sunlight and fresh air and wholesome food improves your mood.
It is good for your health, and it is good for your mind. Feeding yourself junk and being lazy only antagonizes your self-esteem and makes you think that’s all you deserve. [Read: How to stop self-destructive behavior and change your life for the better]
Forgive yourself for mistakes. Let yourself be imperfect. We often forgive others for things they apologize for, but we hold onto grudges against ourselves. You are only human. You will make mistakes. It is inevitable. Forgiving yourself and learning from those mistakes is what helps you grow.
It is so common that we talk down to ourselves. We don’t think we are worthy of a job or a partner or even good friends. Thinking this way damages relationships.
But being able to respect yourself is how you know your worth. Knowing that you have a lot to offer the world is what reminds you that self-kindness is vital to having positive relationships. [Read: How to value yourself and get to know your life’s true passions]
Do what you have to do to feel good mentally. Our society often tells us to work through an illness and keep pushing. But, taking time to focus on yourself and your mental health is what you need in order to keep going.
Maybe you don’t have a fever, but if you are feeling mentally drained, take the day off, cancel plans, and do what makes you happy. Don’t feel guilty for putting your mental health ahead of other things, it is just as important as physical health and should be taken seriously.
Being kind to yourself isn’t just about your relationship with yourself, but with others too. If you let people who bring you down invade your space, it can exhaust you. Surrounding yourself with people you enjoy and that support you keeps you grounded and appreciative. [Read: Why it is so important to surround yourself with positive people and how it can help you]
Make your dreams a priority. Instead of rolling your eyes at what you really want, work for it. Take that time and put in that effort for what you want. Putting that energy into what will make you happy is the ultimate self-kindness.
Work on your self-esteem. Liking who you are is so important. Working on accepting yourself for who you are is the best way you can be kind to yourself. If you can love who you are, all the other ways to show kindness to yourself will follow. [Read: How to stop being insecure and transform your life with self-love]
Just as it is hard to be kind to yourself, you may think that being kind to others doesn’t come to you naturally, but you may just be out of practice. It is human nature to worry about others and to care. You see those behaviors in toddlers.
Even if you feel like you don’t know where to start or how to be kind to others, practice makes perfect. Try to do some of these things regularly, and once it becomes part of your daily routine, being kind will feel second nature.
We often judge people for how they’re dressed, where they live, and even what car they drive. Try to stop yourself from making assumptions about people. You don’t know what is going on with other people, so don’t take their behavior or even the look on their face to mean something.
Even without saying anything negative, letting yourself think of these judgments in your mind is damaging to your ability to be kind to others. [Read: 16 things you need to give up to have a happier life]
We live our lives and see things from our own perspectives. But the best way to show kindness and sympathy to others, is to try to change your perspective. Look at things from another point of view.
You don’t need to change your mind, but trying to understand where others are coming from lets you have a more open mind and be more accepting of others.
Hold the door open for someone who is struggling. Make small talk with the cashier. Let someone with a couple items get in front of you in line. Be patient when someone seems anxious or overwhelmed. These small gestures make a bigger difference than you even realize. [Read: 250+ warm and nice things to say to people and make them really happy]
It seems so simple, but just listening to people around you is one of the kindest things you can do. Letting someone know that their words matter is something so often overlooked. And letting someone vent or open up without offering advice but just being there is what most people need.
Offer honest and genuine compliments, especially to strangers. Complimenting your waiter on their speedy and friendly service, letting someone know you love their hair color, or their T-shirt, all of these put smiles on someone’s face. It seems small, but a compliment from a stranger is a rare kindness that goes a long way. [Read: How to think positive and reprogram your mind to stay positive]
We let anger and frustration get the best of us, and, unfortunately, we take it out on other people quite often. We let a traffic jam or a long wait eat away at us, then we get frustrated when someone makes a mistake or doesn’t foresee our needs.
[Read: How to release anger and instead focus on the positives in life]
Try to release that anger and not let inconveniences get to you. If you can do that, you will have a lot more happiness and positivity to offer.
Saying please and thank you may seem small in the grand scheme of things, but it is such a small thing that shows so much kindness. Taking the few seconds it takes to say thank you to someone who helped you to bag your groceries or who showed you where an item was is the least you can do. [Read: How to be grateful – 15 small ways to appreciate and express it]
Take time to look at your actions. How are your actions affecting others? How do others’ actions affect you? If your partner is in a bad mood, does it sour your mood? Then your bad mood probably does the same for them.
You don’t have to always be happy and in a good mood to be kind, but just taking the time to consider others’ feelings in relation to your actions shows your intent.
Reach out to friends and family, even if you have nothing to say. Ask them how they are. If you know someone got back from a vacation, ask them how it was. If someone vented to you about something a week ago, reach out and see how they’re doing.
Simply asking someone how they are, is such a kind thing to do. Instead of just talking back and forth, genuinely being concerned for someone’s well-being with one question shows so much care and can make them feel seen and heard. [Read: How to not be a dry texter and really communicate over text]
A smile is the smallest way to make the biggest impact. So, smile at a stranger. Make eye contact. Smile when you say thank you and have a nice day. Smiling shows kindness in a simple way.
[Read: How to smile more often and make small steps that will change your life forever]
Learning how to be kind to yourself and how to be kind to others is something you already know how to do, you just needed to be reminded.
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