Sometimes we hold back from saying kind words.
We hold back from giving compliments about peoples appearances, actions or how they made us feel.
It’s not out of malice instead it comes from a place of fear.
We end up being worried about things like how our words will be perceived, if we’ll come across too eager and if the person will think we like them romantically when we want to keep things platonic. But a compliment doesn’t need to mean the world, it can simply be said as an observation from your perspective.
Don’t allow your fear of people’s perceptions to stop you saying kind words.
It can be incredibly frustrating when you find yourself falling behind and struggling to keep up.
You end up feeling like there’s something wrong with you and you might even begin to question yourself in order to figure out why you can’t keep up.
And sometimes it leads to wondering whether you’re good enough or wondering if you should quit.
In these moments, think it’s useful to offer yourself a little bit of kindness. If you can’t keep up, berating yourself won’t help or make it any easier to catch up.
Perhaps it would be much more useful to offer yourself some kindness instead.
It’s been said that reassurance is something that we can’t get enough of. It’s strange to think about how we seek reassurance to keep our fears at bay but each time we get it we crave more and more often finding ourselves feeling stuck without it.
When you sit and watch a persons anxieties and fears play out in front of you, your immediate response is probably to console them with reassurance. You’ll find yourself saying things like ‘It’ll be alright’, it’s not necessarily because you believe it but instead because you don’t want them to feel low.
But reassurance is never enough so when the person continues on you might find yourself bored of the anxieties. It’s not that you don’t care but instead that you’ve accepted no amount of reassurance will change this persons mind so there’s no point in trying.
The lesson in all this is that sometimes people just want to vent, be heard and feel supported. Often that will work better to ease the anxieties rather than trying to use reassurance to make it go away.
…as you would have them do unto you.
The idea of treating people as you’d want to be treated is all good and well in theory.
But when it comes down to the crunch, is it what you practice in your day to day life.
When people talk about this topic of how we should treat other people, often they’re thinking of how they want to be treated. Yet the same kindness, respect, honestly, understanding and patience is not extended to others.
It doesn’t mean that you’re cruel to people, it could be something as small as not holding the door open for people but expecting others to do it for you.
Sometimes it’s intentional and sometimes it’s by accident. But when you catch yourself treating someone in a way you would not want to be treated, change your behavior.
It’s really easy to say, ‘That’s just how I am’.
Some people even use that as a way to justify continually being unkind to others or even themselves.
But the beauty of life is that we have the opportunity to change and overcome.
I recently wrote about not feeling good enough, something I struggled with for years.
As a result of feeling that way I created a life that I was unhappy with and I became someone who self-sabotaged, had little self-belief and would constantly settle for less. Furthermore, I struggled to stand up for myself.
Once I stopped passively accepting those parts of me as just the way things are, I realised that things could be different, things could be better. I also realised that I was capable of changing my own life.
At the time I didn’t feel capable and it was hard to imagine what things would be like if they were different but I started to believe it was possible.
My personal development and growth was an active change that I worked for and continue to work on.
This sort of thing is really at the crux of the message I want to share on this site. What I want for you to take away from this is you that don’t have to accept the way things are.
One of the easiest things you can do is to be kind.
It can come in many forms but I think it is often the smallest things that have the most impact.
It can be easy to think that you need to go above and beyond and make some kind of grand gesture but that’s not the case.
Kind is described as ‘having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature’.
It could come in the form of something small like smiling at a stranger, offering to help someone or even just listening.
You don’t need to be kind because you want something in return, do it because you like the type of world that kindness creates, lead by example.
So lets say you’re someone who has a habit of running late. And this has happened quite a few times with Friend A who is always super understanding about it.
Perhaps the first time you were late you were super apologetic and felt bad but you were also glad your friend was understanding and didn’t get mad about it.
For some people, when they keep getting a kind response as a reaction to their mistakes they’ll end up being less and less apologetic.
Afterall, what’s the point in preparing for the worst case scenario when the past responses have taught you that things will turn out fine.
This is how people end up taking advantage of kindness.
I used the example of being late but this can apply to any scenario where your actions directly effect someone else.
The point is that when you’re making mistakes or when you’re in the wrong you shouldn’t expect for others to just be cool with it. In fact, in some ways it’s actually healthy to accept one of the worst potential outcomes as it’ll keep you on your toes and your apology is much more likely to be genuine.
Granted, the best option will always be to do better but mistakes will always happen and that’s okay.
You have the choice to treat people however you like and sometimes that will depend on how much you care.
Small acts of kindness can allow you to escape your own mind for long enough to remember that we’ve all got stuff going on.
Without knowing it, sometimes the kindness of strangers can be enough to change someone’s mood or brighten their day.
It doesn’t have to be something big, it could be as small as making someone a drink or picking something up that you thought they’d like when you’re out shopping.
In order to do those things you have to get out of your head a little and pay attention to what’s around you. In some ways kindness is about not being bare minimum.
You do it because you want to, not because you have to.
How do you feel when you try something that doesn’t work?
One of the things that limits people from trying new things or just being themselves is not the thing itself but the feeling that comes afterwards.
That feeling of being exposed. Of all eyes on you and nothing to show for yourself. The thought of people knowing you tried and failed.
Especially when you already feel your own disappointment.
So, how about if instead of focusing on how bad it feels you focus on being kinder to yourself.
After all it might be worth acknowledging that you had the courage to try in the first place.
Sometimes people have no idea of the role they’ve played in our lives but maybe that’s how it was meant to be.
I hold the belief that you meet people for specific reasons. Often people come into our lives to serve as reminders of things that we’ve forgotten.
And when you eventually remember you are so thankful to these people even if you aren’t aware of the purpose they came into your life to serve.
You’re thankful because they cared, extended kindness, listened to you, supported you, helped you grow into yourself etc.
Yet, thank you isn’t quite enough and you might end up trying to find some way that you can repay this person that has helped transform you (and therefore your whole life) but it probably won’t be possible.
And that right there is the gem, sometimes a persons kindness and generosity isn’t given to be returned, it’s given because that person has chosen to give it. You’re not indebted to them or obligated to return anything.
Yes, show gratitude but also to do something with what you’ve been given. Maybe that kindness/generosity was to encourage you to try new things, get you out of your shell, remind you that it’s okay to be yourself and so on.
The feeling can get quite overwhelming (in a good way) but it’s worth remembering that in these particular special occasions it’s not about the giver, it’s about what you do with what you’ve been given.