The fourth week of August is “Be Kind to Humankind Week”. Kindness is such a rare occurrence in this century. The world has changed, and so many factors in society have brought on toxicity, an overdose of media, and not being able to enjoy the simplicities of life and appreciate what is right in front of you. With, this week celebrating kindness and how we can spread it, here are five tips on how to be kind to humankind.
Show Them That You Care
A little compassion goes a long way to true kindness. According to 40 international studies, getting involved in helping the community can be beneficial for your healthy well-being. Showing someone, you care whether it be strangers or people close to you, is one way of spreading kindness.
Some ways you can achieve this and integrate it into your life are through volunteer work and doing small acts of kindness. For example, volunteering at a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, a nursing home, or environmental and library assistance are some ways you can achieve this.
Showing your friends and family you care about can be doing chores, giving them a gift, or spending more time with that person. If you feel that your relationships with people closest to you have been put on pause due to the day-to-day tasks of living, then now is the time to make the extra effort.
Another form of kindness is when you merge with many people when it counts. There may be certain scenarios you are thinking of such as a group project, coworkers, an outdoor sport, friendships, and even a gathering with people you don’t know or don’t really want to associate with.
In the words of author and psychoanalyst Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “Forgiveness is an act of creation…You can forgive for now, forgive till then, forgive till the next time, forgive but give no more chances it’s a whole new game if there is another incident. You can give one more chance, give several more chances, give many chances, give chances only if. You can forgive part, all, or half of the offense. You can devise a blanket of forgiveness. You decide.”
You may be reserved or not into interacting with lots of people, or you’ve had a bad experience working together with someone, try coming together. If there are any bad experiences with said individual, you can decide to put that aside for the sake of the task at hand or forgive.
In addition to forgiving and joining forces, this is great for bringing kindness to your relationship. Other ways of coming together in a relationship are by planning a future together, strengthening your bond, and communicating your goals and vulnerabilities, to name a few.
Treat Others Well
Simple acts of kindness can be found when you are treating others well. There are many ways to take the initiative and treat someone with kindness.
A few examples to help you get started are cooking lunch for someone in need, being supportive of friends and family in need, and simply remembering to say things like “please” and “thank you.” Simple actions and behavior changes can make a difference in your life and others.
One example of a viral trend that helped give small doses of support was the bread-baking Instagram trend during the 2019 COVID-19 pandemic. Many people were isolated at home and needed to pass the time. Wouldn’t you know strangers, family, and friends did creative videos and posted pictures on Instagram about music, humor, and trends, and the most popular one, was baking different kinds of bread. Everyone put positive feedback comments to one another, and it became such a great support system.
If you are having trouble conveying your emotions with friends, family, your relationship, acquaintances, and individuals? Being communicative is a challenge many people struggle with which leads to misunderstandings and possible fights.
To help you get started on this journey here are 3 hard truths to consider about relationships and friendships.
- Not all connections will be for me: Understand that even if you communicate with someone and it all goes well or not, it’s up to you to decide if the type of relationship/friendship is meant to be in your life.
- Friendships don’t have to be deep to be meaningful: Part of communication is how you engage in conversation with others. Just because you don’t have deep talks with someone doesn’t mean it isn’t a great form of connection and communication. There are people in our lives that we can enjoy pillow talk with or have only one thing in common to talk about, every form of connection is unique and should be cherished through consistent communication.
- Sometimes we need others to show us ugly truths about ourselves: Communication is a great way to be vulnerable with people we trust and to talk about the deeper things in our lives. Having these branches can help with being an empathetic human being to yourself and others who want to share their troubles and successes. Remember to find that trusted circle and reciprocate.
Be Kind to Yourself
We’re always told to spread kindness and what it means to people in our lives and meet along the way. That advice is wonderful except when we overlook the one person you should always be kind to first and foremost yourself.
One way that you can be kind to yourself is by taking care of your physical and mental health.
The day-to-day occurrences of life can be overwhelming, whether it is your career, family, friends, events, and more; sometimes you need to stop and take a breath. One simple and easy way to give time for yourself is by doing breathwork. Breathwork is a therapeutic term for techniques to help people ground themselves and relieve stress.
There are a few breathing techniques you can try whenever you feel stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed.
- Circular breathing: This involves continuous breathing in and out without holding your breath at any point.
- 4-7-8 breathing technique: This can be done with closed or open eyes. Breathe in through your nose while counting to four, hold your breath while counting to seven, and then exhale through your mouth while counting to eight.
- Zen breathing: Breathe in slowly through your nose, then exhale through pursed lips
After reading, my hope during Be Kind to Humankind Week is that you found these tips as a great guidance tool to spread kindness to others and yourself. It can be a challenge to always put your best foot forward, but a small act of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s mood. Remember a time when someone really brightened your day, you can be that person for someone close to you and for yourself. Get started and spread kindness for all humankind.