As someone who has openly lived with depression and anxiety, I know how much mental illness can affect your life. Heaps of folk are suffering from poor mental health. I wouldn’t have told anybody that I was suffering from depression a few years ago. But now I feel that I have a responsibility to show people how it feels to come out the other end. But I alone cannot change the worlds mental health. I can, however, give you some tips on ways to be kinder in a very judgemental world. Because kindness costs nothing, right?
There are three different types of kindness. Genuine kindness, false kindness and practicing kindness. False kindness is often used to “save face” or to make you look good, but false kindness is exactly that, false. Genuine kindness is the best kind, but it is becoming increasingly rarer. Practicing kindness with ways to be kinder is what I would like to encourage in this article. We have been brought up in a very judgemental world, fuelled by media and society. Let’s change that up.
Ways to Be Kinder: You Don’t Know My Story
And I don’t know yours. And even if you told me, I still wouldn’t have a clue what it is to be you. But that’s okay. What makes us different, shouldn’t separate us. If we simply appreciated that we are all on different paths, we might be a little kinder.
Practicing kindness is to first admit to yourself that sometimes you’re a wee bit judgy. Judgy on someone’s appearance, attitude, life choices. And often, being judgy starts within. The ones who dish out the most critique are often the most critical of themselves.
Self-development is a huge part of being kinder. If you need a little help with telling yourself that you’re da bomb, check out these 6 positive affirmations to tell yourself every day. Read on for 6 ways to be kinder.
1. Stop yourself in your tracks
Do you know that exact moment when you’re about to be critical? That’s where you need to start. I highly recommend listening to this TED talk by Mel Robbins on the 5 Second Rule. The 5 Second Rule is the simplest way to reprogramme your actions so that they come from the heart and not the brain. And it turns out that when the brain isn’t involved, things get immediately better. I cannot tell you how much the 5 Second Rule has changed my life. If you’re practicing kindness, learn it. It’s the best way to interrupt that course of ordinary action.
2. Just Listen
“Listen, I am alone at a crossroads. I’m not at home in my own home” – Beyonce. Listening is free. Did you know that? It costs absolutely zero to listen. If someone comes to you in the hope that you will just listen, do it. You could be the difference between them picking up or dipping down. It seems like such a big responsibility when putting it like that. But it’s not. It’s free! How many people would still be with us if we just listened a little more and critiqued a little less?
I do this far too often, I can be walking down the street beaming at every passer-by. I think a smile catches folk off-guard. And most of the time, they smile back. And the ones that don’t? Send them a link to this article. A smile is free. A frown is more effort than it’s worth and makes us all feel like crap. So say cheese!
4. Mind your Ps and Qs
Manners are free too. You could change someones whole opinion of you with two simple words. So say please and thank you. It’s so simple yet so effective. Besides, it can be the difference between someone sending kindness your way, or not. Does someone hold a door open for you? Say thank you. Someone lets you go ahead of them in the queue? Say thank you. Someone buys you a questionable pair of brown knitted leggings? Say thank you (brown knitted leggings just aren’t my thing but if they are yours, then you can have mine).
Far, far too often do I see friends and family disapprove of life choices. Not just me personally, but with friends, family and fellow small business owners. If I had a pound for every time someone relatively close to me has been judgy or passive-aggressive, I’d probably be a richer business owner. Why do we tear each other down? Encouragement is free. This goes for all of us. Society is so quick to judge. The next time someone close to you tells you how excited they are about something, encourage them. Believe it or not, encouragement is also free!
6. Say “I Love You” just a little more often
Every time Aye 2.0 pops to the shops, I turn into Shakespeare, professing my love in a poetic manner. I treat every time I see someone like it’s the last. Life is too short and unpredictable to not spread the love. In practicing kindness, I actually have a daily alarm called “Share the love.” This encourages me to put a little light into the world, every single day. Even when I am feeling like burnt lasagne. I do it on my social media channels in various ways, usually through humour. Laughter is the best medicine. Or I will give my dog a big cuddle, or send a nice message to someone. I’m trying to practice kindness so often that it becomes a habit. It’s all these little ways to be kinder that make a difference in the world.
Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate. – Albert Schweitzer