Last week, I was busy buzzing around the kitchen when I spied two Jehovah’s Witnesses approaching my door. My initial reaction was an inward groan, and then I remembered something. It takes nothing to be kind.
When I was in my early twenties I was visiting a really good friend, when I once again spotted Jehovah’s walking door to door. I quickly grabbed my friend so that we could shut the door and pretend we weren’t home when she asked me why? They aren’t hurting anyone, and if you give them a moment of kindness and listen, they’ll happily go on their way.
So that’s what I do now. I greet the Jehovah’s warmly at my door, listen politely (which never takes long), explain that I have my own beliefs and usually offer them a glass of cold water. I find that they never push their agenda on me, other than maybe telling me what got them started on their path. It’s a brief, friendly chat with strangers where ideals and kind gestures are exchanged.
But my reaction last week (yep, the groan) got me thinking. As much as we always plan to be kind, sometimes the craziness of life just kinda gets in the way. I don’t know about you, but when this happens I tend to find that my demeanour and general manners, suffer. I may (and I highlight the may) even be prone to bitchiness. May!
Every now and then I think it’s important that we all take a step back and remember what it is to be kind to others.
10 steps to a kinder life
- Get back to the basic manners we were all taught as kids. Say please, thank you, show respect, don’t speak over others, share and acknowledge people.
- Help others out. Helping someone out doesn’t mean you have to move them from house to house (although that is ALWAYS appreciated) but sometimes it can be as simple as a pep talk or buying a Suspended Coffee for someone in need.
- Engage with people. Talk to them,make eye contact, be present, ask questions and show genuine interest in topics important to them.
- Use friendly body language. Don’t present yourself as an uninterested closed book – uncross your arms and be open.
- Show empathy. Empathy isn’t just expressed through personal interactions but also by being aware of the impact our actions have on others.
- Think, act and shop ethically. Consider how your choices affect people, animals and the environment on a greater, global scale.
- Be positive. Like kindness, positivity spreads, so spread that shit around!
- Stay cool. It’s so easy to fly off the handle, particularly with strangers, but try and keep your cool. Breathe and calm down.
- Say nice things. Everyone loves a compliment (be genuine) or to be part of a nice conversation. Be the change.
- SMILE! Go on, do it!
Although I try to adhere to the points above, I don’t always. Some I am better at than others. If I’m being honest, number 6 – acting ethically, is something that I am passionate about, but is also my biggest downfall. It’s easy enough for me to say (and tell others) not to buy the cheap clothes from Kmart, or to only buy Certified Organic Free Range eggs, until I see a cute little outfit and just have to have it. I usually don’t even realise what I’ve done until I’ve paid and am half way down the street. Something to keep working on.
How about you? Do you consciously do things to promote kind living or is there a particular act of kindness, big or small, that makes you happy? I’d love to hear about it.
Today’s Manic Monday mantra: Kindness is catching, so sprinkle that shit everywhere!