Did you know today is World Kindness Day? Celebrated annually on 13th November, World Kindness Day seeks to make the world a better place by promoting good deeds, pledging acts of kindness and focusing on positive power. In a world that seems to be ruled by division with an increase in racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia and general hate, it’s more important than ever to practice kindness to yourself and others. Love trumps hate and all of that.
Global politics aside, kindness is also necessary on a macro level. In a world ruled by instant gratification through social media likes and expendable human interactions via a series of never-ending left and right swipes, kindness and compassion often take a backseat. We all become hardened by pain and suffering, both our own and what we see in the world. The thing is, humans are made for love, community and connection. Love, kindness and compassion are what will heal us individually and collectively.
I really believe in being kind to others. love that warm, glowy feeling that you get from being kind to someone else, whether that’s buying someone a cup of tea, offering my seat to someone who looks like they need it on the tube or buying a random gift for someone for no reason. Being kind keeps me humble and makes me feel more connected to the world by putting someone else’s needs and happiness above my own.
I’m also a huge advocate of being kind to yourself, also known as self-care. I love that this concept has become mainstream and the guilt associated with putting your needs first have been dispelled. Every time I feel pangs of guilt for prioritising my needs, I remind myself that “you cannot pour from an empty cup”. If you look after yourself, you’re able to look after many others. I wrote about resilience and self-care earlier this year and shared some tips for coping with hard times.
But today is all about being kind to others so I wanted to share five quick and easy ways to be kind:
1. Compliment someone
You know that warm, fuzzy glow you get when you receive a genuine compliment? It feels just as good to give compliments too. I feel like this is something Brits don’t do often enough. I’ve been making more of an effort to give compliments to friends, colleagues and even strangers and it feels so nice to bring a little happiness to someone – it could make all the difference, especially if someone is having a bad day or feeling down.
2. Say thank you
I’m sure that you’ve seen that social media post about expressing gratitude instead of apologising – saying ‘thank you for waiting’ if you’re late to meet someone instead of apologising for being late. This is a really simple, powerful way of reframing your mind to seek out the positives in life. Saying thank you shows someone that you acknowledge them and value their time and effort.
3. Give a gift
Giving a little gift is such a lovely way of showing someone you appreciate someone. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, picking up their favourite chocolate or a little token of appreciation.
4. Buy a hot drink, meal or space in a shelter for a homeless person
Simply stopping to buy a hot drink, something to eat or offering to pay for a night or two in a shelter can make a huge difference to someone in need. You can also contract Street Link who may be able to offer assistance.
5. Donate to charity
A super quick and easy way to be kind no matter where you are is to donate to a charity. I always donate to Cancer Research as my mum has cancer but there are so many deserving charities like NSPCC and DEC, who are currently collecting for the Indonesia tsunami appeal.
I’d love to hear how you practised kindness today so let me know in the comments section.
Shot by Kylie Eyra.