“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”- Mark Twain
Simple acts of kindness can make a difference in everyone’s life. Just take a minute to think about the last time a stranger opened a door for you, or the neighbour who greets you every morning with a big smile. How did it make you feel? Kindness is commonly perceived as going out of your way to do something very special for someone or buying an expensive gift for a loved one. While these acts have their place in our lives; there are simple acts of kindness that won’t cost you a penny, yet are equally impactful, if not more so. And the good news is that genuine kindness is contagious. These are important lessons for life that can make a real difference to both the donor and receiver of acts of kindness.
Powerful Acts of Kindness that Won’t Cost Anything
- Smile more often
It is quite remarkable how something so easy can be so affecting. Putting on a smile sends positive signals; it makes you feel happier, it says that you a welcoming and approachable person, it says, “I might be going through tough times, but I still have reasons to smile”- it is a message of hope. A simple smile can literally change someone’s day. Have you ever noticed the positive feeling you get when someone smiles at you for no apparent reason, and the fact that their smile makes you feel like mimicking the favour? Or how a message accompanied by a smiley face emoji has a more positive vibe? Try to practice these simple lessons for life and watch the positive effects.
- Be present for someone
Being truly present for someone is a powerful act of kindness especially in this modern era, where everyone’s attention is preoccupied by work, their smartphone, or other gadgets. You can be present for someone in various ways; for example, putting away your phone when having a conversation with someone and practicing emphatic listening. Being actively present will help you acknowledge people’s emotions even before they speak. In many cases, people just need a keen ear or someone to hold their hand.
- Give genuine compliments
Giving genuine compliments to other people is a formidable act of kindness because it is a great way to share your positivity. Most people love being on the receiving end of a good compliment, and so this will help make them feel great and you will also be a more enjoyable person to be around. It can be as simple as saying a friend’s outfit looks good or appreciating your colleague’s work. However, you should make sure that your compliment is “genuine”. Don’t simply say nice things to people because you need a favour from them or want them to return the favour.
- Help a charity
Although a lot of charity organizations rely heavily on financial support, you don’t need to be a millionaire to help the people who are disadvantaged. Charities also need people to give their time and skills, and those things are equally important. You can find a cause that is important to you, such as working several hours per week in the kitchen at an orphanage, or donating your medical or bookkeeping expertise to a Health Care Centre for the homeless.
“Do your little bit of good where you are. It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu.
- Pay it Forward
The word “pay” signifies a cost. For example, you are in the McDonald’s drive-thru line and when you pull up to the window, you find out that the person in the car ahead of you payed for your order. You can immediately pay it forward, by paying for the food order for the car behind you. But, paying it forward doesn’t have to cost anything – when someone smiles at you, smile at the next person you see; when someone stops and gives you directions, don’t hesitate to lend an ear to a stranger who looks in need; when someone compliments you, compliment the next person you see in a wheelchair; and the next time a co-workers brings you lunch without being prompted, the next time you drive by a donation bin, drop off unwanted or gently-used clothes that are just gathering dust in your closet.
Practice these valuable lessons for life regularly! It might be easier to show kindness when things are going well. But, behaving kindly even when you are facing difficult challenges will raise your self-confidence to a point where it becomes easier for you to overcome those challenges. Remember that kindness is contagious, therefore, practicing it creates a ripple effect that causes it to spread to others.