People are illogical, self-centred and unreasonable. It’s difficult to love them. The good deeds you do will be forgotten tomorrow, but your mistakes will always be remembered. Why, then, should you even bother being kind? When you know that any vulnerability you show will be exploited, when your ideas and your generosity will be shot down by small-minded, petty men. Well, no one ever said that being good was easy. The best things seldom are. But being kind will make you happy and more satisfied with your life in the long run. Look at some ways in which you can change your life for the better.
Take care of the environment
Being kind means paying attention to the things around you. It means being practical and saving money and the environment. Don’t just throw away things, recycle them. Reduce your carbon footprint, don’t leave trash behind you and reuse old things instead of throwing them away. Really think about whether you need something before you buy it. Instead of wasting big bucks on trifles like branded clothes, start buying second-hand. Gently worn women dresses and men’s shirts are cheap and don’t lack in quality. Plan and organize an event in your community dedicated to planting trees, or help clean out garbage. It doesn’t take much, but it makes a real difference, especially if you can get more people to engage.
There are plenty of organizations that are constantly lacking people who can help out. Giving your time and energy in order to make someone’s life better is hard work, but it comes with many rewards. Try to find a cause that’s important to you instead of picking something at random. Volunteer at a local animal shelter if you love cats and dogs. Maybe you’ll even end up making a friend and adopting one of them. Homes for senior citizens and soup kitchens are also a good idea. You don’t necessarily have to volunteer to take care of someone. A lot of libraries and art museums could use a hand. If you’re a talented designer perhaps you can help make eye-catching flyers that will bring business to these important organizations.
Mark Twain once said: “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” It speaks to everyone, but those who are down on their luck are in need of hearing it the most. Being generous doesn’t have to be about giving money away. It can mean being generous with your time or compliments. It can mean being there for a friend. Giving gifts can be just as pleasant for the giver as it is for the one receiving them. Research shows that acts of kindness and generosity lead to overall life satisfaction. The society is built on people helping each other out, so of course it functions better when people aren’t being selfish.
Learn to forgive and forget
The hardest to attain, and possibly one of the most important qualities you can have is the ability to forgive. Our first instinct when someone wrongs us is to take revenge and hurt them back, but this leads to a vicious cycle of revenge and misery. Forgiveness requires us to acknowledge that we were wronged, accept it and then move on. It requires us to put ourselves into the other person’s shoes and try to understand their actions. Ultimately, forgiving someone is as much about you, as it is about them. It will help you put the event past you and grow as a person.
Kindness requires bravery. It requires self-awareness and the ability to think of the greater good, to think past the selfish impulses and focus on building a better world. Years from now, when you look back and think about the life you’ve lived, will you ever really regret that you’ve loved, that you’ve been kind, or that you’ve tried to do good? A full life isn’t a life of shallow pleasures, it’s a life that’s filled with things you were proud to do. A life in which you were proud of your scars, your battles and your tireless heart.
Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She feels she knows a thing or two about raising happy, healthy and confident kids, and offers helpful advice in hers parenting articles. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”