My contract ended unexpectedly last week and I found myself suddenly unemployed. I lost a job that I really loved.
On my last day, I had lunch with my friends from work and said my goodbyes.
I was devastated. I felt sad and overwhelmed.
The direction of my life had changed. I was shocked and unprepared.
Remembering I needed food for the next day, I headed to the grocery store. I walked around the store in a bit of a daze picking up what I thought I needed.
Standing at the self-serve checkout, I realized I was taking a lot longer than I normally did. I was double-checking everything before I left the checkout.
Did I have my key card, my wallet, all of my bags? Then I would check again, fearful that in my state of mind, I would leave something important behind.
I was holding up the people behind me, who were most likely getting impatient and wondering why I was taking so long.
Then it dawned on me.
How many times had I got impatient or been unkind with someone in that same supermarket, without ever thinking about what they might be going through?
Most of the time we’re so busy rushing from place to place, we don’t stop to think about the people around us. We are preoccupied with our own lives and problems.
We don’t think about what could have happened to someone else. We don’t think about the burdens they could be carrying.
A person could have just lost their job, been told they have cancer, found out a loved one was in a car accident, have a sick child in the hospital, lost their home to bankruptcy, be dealing with a marriage breakup, or a variety of other situations.
At that moment, I understood I needed to be kinder to people.
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Being kinder isn’t hard. It just takes awareness and being fully in the moment.
Let’s look at some simple but important ways we can all be kinder to each other.
Be more patient
This is a no-brainer, particularly after my checkout story but it’s amazing how many of us fail spectacularly at being even the slightest bit patient with each other. This includes the people we love.
Think how many times you lose your patience with your kids, partner, or parents. Then really give some serious thought to how that makes them feel.
If patience is an issue for you, find ways to increase your patience with people. I personally find techniques like singing my favorite song in my head or counting to ten can help. Or I find some way to make myself laugh at my own impatience. Throwing some humor at the situation can definitely help!
Posts related to being kinder and more caring to each other –
- 20 Ways to Show Genuine Interest in People’s Lives
- 20 Ways to Snap Out of a Bad Mood
- 19 Life-Changing Ways to Stop Being Critical of Others
Remember that we all make mistakes
Before you yell at someone for doing something wrong, think about how you felt in either the same situation or a similar one.
For instance, think about when you were training at a new job. Everything is new, it’s overwhelming how much you have to learn and you have to learn at lightning speed.
Remember how that felt for you when you first started?
Remember when you learned to drive and made mistakes? Remember when you were younger and made some not-so-bright decisions?
We all make mistakes. When mistakes happen, try to be kinder to people.
Books to help get your kindness on –
- Deep Kindness: A Revolutionary Guide for the Way We Think, Talk, and Act in Kindness – Houston Kraft
- The War of Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World – Jamil Zaki
- The Rabbit Effect: Live Longer, Happier, and Healthier with the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness – Kelli Harding M.D. M.P.H
- Kindness is My Superpower: A Children’s book about Empathy, Kindness, and Compassion – Alicia Ortego
- Share a Little Kindness: A Children’s Book About Doing Good in the World – Colleen Brunetti
Don’t assume you know how a person feels
I mentioned the scenario where you don’t know what the person has been through but what about the situation where you think you know what the other person is going through?
Take a family member for instance. You know what is going on in their life, so you know exactly how they feel, right?
You think you know how you would feel, in the same situation. You may have already been in that situation yourself, so you know how they feel right?
Not all people with cancer have the same feelings. Not everyone who loses their job feels the same. There are no doubt similarities in how people feel in certain situations but each person is an individual, so their thoughts and feelings will be different.
We need to respect that, be kind, and show compassion.
Think before you speak (or type)
Being kind to people means thinking before we speak. It means asking yourself the question – is what I say or write going to hurt this person?
Being kinder to people means filtering your words. Humans think a lot of awful, harmful, toxic crap. Thinking it when you are upset is one thing but saying it or writing it down, is completely another.
Hurtful words have consequences.
We know this already because we have been on the receiving end of hurtful words.
To be kinder, we need to initiate better systems to filter what we say and type online. A simple step is not writing when you are angry. Give yourself time to cool down.
Hopefully taking time out, will stop you from writing anything at all.
If, when you get angry or frustrated, your go-to is to vent on social media, you need a better outlet for dealing with your emotions. It’s your responsibility to find healthy outlets that work for you.
Once you say or write something, you can’t take it back. Saying sorry does not fix all things. Sometimes the damage is permanent and the consequences severe.
Think before you act.
Be kind to people
Right now, after reading through the above, you might be thinking – why should I be kind to people when they aren’t kind to me?
The answer is – because it’s the right thing to do.
Just because people aren’t doing the right thing, doesn’t mean you can’t role model the right behavior.
We can all be kinder to each other.
Sometimes kindness doesn’t require us to do anything except give someone a little extra time and space.
There is always room for more patience and understanding. Be kind to people because you never know what people are going through.
If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends on social media. Spread the kindness far and wide! Sharing is always appreciated.
Read Next – 10 Ways to Cultivate Kindness in Your Life and Other People’s