You know that being kind makes other people happier and in turn makes you a happier person. But you keep forgetting. Or you’re too busy. Or you’re not sure how to actually go about it. So you put it off.
I’ll be kind next week after this big project is over.
I’ll be kind when that awful neighbour finally moves away.
I’ll be kind once I get a decent night’s sleep.
And until then you get through each day complaining about the lack of parking spaces near your office.
About how hot / cold / rainy / windy it is.
About your new boss.
About the fact your child seems adamant to never sleep through the night.
About never getting the breaks.
You don’t give up your seat on the train. You don’t fill the kettle up for the next person who comes along to make a coffee. You don’t make conversation with the new mum at playgroup. You don’t smile at anyone. Ever.
I know you. You’re a really nice person. But if a stranger witnessed you as you go about your daily life would they agree with me?
As they watch you swear at someone who took the parking space you wanted at the supermarket.
As you check your phone while your youngest is telling you a story about his day at school.
As you let the door slam in the person’s face behind you because you’re too busy to hold it open.
I know you’re actually really kind.
And now it’s time for you to show everyone - friends, family and strangers alike - that you are genuinely kind.
Also as my fabulous and wise late friend, Sarah Pylas, used to say "Kindness makes you happy and happiness makes you kind". It's a great cycle to be in...
Knock yourself out, print them out and put them up on the wall ;-)
I don’t need to tell you that smiling makes the giver and the receiver feel better, so what’s stopping you?!? You might even make the difference to someone’s day.
Check with fellow house members that no one wants a shower before you have yours.
If you’re driving, offer someone a lift and let people pull out in front of you.
If you’re on public transport offer up your seat to someone else, and PLEASE help those who are struggling with cases or buggies or kids in general.
On the school run tell that frazzled mum that she’s doing a great job.
Before you leave the office to get your lunch ask if anyone else wants anything.
Offer a playdate to your neighbour’s little one so she can have an hour off.
Every time you are checking out someone’s shoes / bag / coat / dress / earrings tell them “Hey I love your (insert relevant term here) - that colour really suits you!” Whether you know them or not.
As you go through a toll road on your way to work in the morning pay for the next car too.
When you pick up your coffee pay for the next person's coffee.
Pay for the next mum after you at playgroup.
Be a little creative.
This is a tricky one as not everyone likes to be talked to, so you’ll need to gauge if you think the person you’ve eyed up is open to conversation or not. But so many people feel lonely, that you striking up a conversation with them may just be the highlight of their day.
If you’re not sure how to start, do what I do and be British about it by talking about the weather ;-)
Also this is like a muscle - the more you flex it, the better you’ll get at it. And you never know what interesting people you might get chatting to!
I'm a spiritual atheist these days (after being raised Christian), but I do believe that most religions talk sense when it comes to the way we treat others, and this biblical principle is certainly one we can all apply. We just often choose not to.
This list is far from being exhaustive so what are you going to do today to be kind? Remember the person who will reap the most from it is you after all...
P.S. If you’re struggling with being kind as there's just so much going on in your life, make sure you grab my FREE cheat sheet to overcome overwhelm. In it I share 6 simple and free ways to get off that hamster wheel, have a decent night's sleep and start embracing life again.