March 8, 2017

Kindness Hacks: How to be Kind when we Don’t Feel like it.

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.” ~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV


Kindness is a deed of goodwill toward other people.

There are no rules or limits to being kind. It doesn’t have to cost us a thing.

When I was little, I thought that kindness meant helping the poor.

Growing up, I’ve realized that acts of kindness have nothing to do with materialism. Kindness is the gesture of and the motivation behind connection with other people.

An act of kindness can be as simple as listening to someone who’s in need of advice, giving up our seat on the train for someone else, smiling at a person, helping an old person cross the street, holding the door for someone, or refraining from saying something hurtful to others.

Although kindness is simple, we might find it difficult to practice.

It’s not difficult because we’re bad people, but occasionally, we get so caught up in our own problems that we forget about other people and underestimate their issues. Sometimes, we mistake kindness for religious homework that we have been summoned to complete.

We must understand that kindness has nothing to do with religion.

Kindness is our second nature—it’s as natural as breathing. It’s not something that we add to our character—rather, it’s a dormant, innate trait.

With time, I’ve learned that kindness brings us happiness, and that happiness is contagious toward others. When people become kinder to each other—and to themselves—the world becomes a better place.

I’m convinced that being kind helps us to look beyond ourselves. It puts an end to our selfishness and gives birth to a distinguished bond with others.

Below are six hacks for cultivating kindness:

Pay attention to what’s happening around you.

During my travels, I’ve learned that there’s a good number of people who are in need. However, we don’t pay attention to them.

I’ve observed that the main reason for our unkindness is a lack of awareness. We’re too absorbed in our thoughts and emotions that we’re oblivious to what’s happening in the world.

It’s of benefit to start paying attention to what’s happening around us, because we never know who needs help.

Acknowledge when you don’t feel like it.

Once we pay attention to the people who need help, we must begin to pay attention to our own reactions to being kind. Sometimes, something stops us from offering help. We see the person who’s in need, but our ego plays games with us and persuades us that it’s not necessary to help.

Personally, I’ve solved this problem through developing awareness around my own resistances to being kind. Whenever I feel I’m resisting kindness, I admit it to myself and break the resistance by approaching the person who’s in need of help.

Put yourself in others’ shoes.

This hack has always helped me to be kind when I don’t feel like it.

When we resist kindness, it’s of benefit to imagine ourselves in the other person’s shoes. We can imagine that we’re the ones in need and how much it would mean to us if someone offered us help.

Remember courage.

Once when I was on a bus, I witnessed a lady having a hard time putting all of her bags on board. The bus was loaded with people, and I was shy to offer a helping hand. In my hesitation, another gentleman on the bus had already approached her and helped her with her bags.

That guy was courageous for overcoming his fear and shyness. The behavior he modeled was an inspiration to every person on the bus.

Whenever I am faced with a similar situation, I remember him and don’t hesitate to help.

Remember that kindness requires courage. Be that guy on the bus. You don’t know who you might inspire through your good-hearted actions.

Think of others’ happiness.

Sometimes, we’re unkind because of our selfishness. A family member asks us for a glass of water, but we don’t get it for them because we’re too comfortable on the couch. When we think that our endeavour will make the other person happy, the reward outweighs the risk, and we automatically do it.

See what happens after being kind.

As far as I’m concerned, kindness fills me with happiness. Kindness is charged with positivity. So when we do it, we become charged with positivity as well.

When you perform an act of kindness, notice the energy that flows in your body. When you see how good it feels to be good to another, you will practice it more often.


Author: Elyane Youssef

Image: @elephantjournal on Instagram

Editor: Caitlin Oriel

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