Each year, we celebrate World Kindness Day on November 13 to highlight the importance of unifying human beings regardless of race, gender, and background. Acts of kindness can manifest in many ways. Not only is it compassionate to do so, but it also boosts serotonin and endorphins—the feel-good hormones of the brain! It makes you less grumpy throughout the day since kindness comes hand-in-hand with positivity.
One search in Google will reveal a long list of acts of kindness examples that a person can do. Being kind can mean paying for someone else’s coffee, allowing others to go ahead in line, or walking someone across the street. However, there are also subtle ways to show kindness that we tend to overlook, especially with the many different people we come into contact with daily. Read on below to find out how we can practice subtle kindness!
Acts Of Kindness for the Specific People in Our Lives
1. To strangers: Read books
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Before we can begin to nurture more kindness within ourselves, it is essential to first consult with books. Why books? Simple: it exposes us to other perspectives we wouldn’t have considered otherwise. It is easy to dislike a person if you don’t—or at least don’t try to—understand where they are coming from. Might seem like a stretch to some, but anyone who reads knows that this activity is the best way to expand beyond the personal outlook we have on the world.
For general fiction works, we gain perspectives on how certain characters are. We learn how their thought processes work as we discover more about them. For non-fiction works, it is more straightforward. There are self-help books that aim to inspire and motivate readers to be kind.
Regardless of genre, reading books will open our eyes to new perspectives. If you need help getting started, check out our article on The Best Young Adult Books Across Popular Genres!
2. To loved ones: Angle kindness to love languages
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It’s easy to take those who are closest in our hearts for granted. For instance, people receive acts of kindness more meaningfully when angled towards how the person feels love the most. According to Gary Chapman, there are five love languages: words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, and receiving gifts. How can we use this knowledge to turn it into kindness examples?
Words of affirmation : Instead of the usual encouragement, express how much you appreciate them through a playlist. Music has the power to put into words what we cannot always verbalize, so maximize it!
Physical touch : Don’t be shy to provide some hugs and kisses when they feel down as long as they’re comfortable with it! However, if you are someone who isn’t very comfortable with overt physical touching, a simple gesture like patting their back or holding their hand will give them the comfort they need.
Receiving gifts : Give them a thoughtful gift—it doesn’t even have to be expensive for the person to appreciate it. Have it as simple as jewelry, collectibles, or writing materials, depending on the recipient’s personality. Anything goes as long as the thought is there!
Quality time : It is understandable that we get carried away with our own lives. We often forget the presence of our loved ones when we are living far away from them. However, quality time is still possible! Simply take five minutes of your day to check-in on your loved ones through text, video call, or if time allows, set up a coffee date with them every once in a while!
Acts of service : Even when no one asks you to, take the initiative and help with an errand or a household chore. They might not notice it immediately, but doing so will lift a lot of their burdens!
3. To friends: Listen without interruption
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So far, we have identified subtle acts of kindness that we can do for people. The term “acts of kindness” implies a deliberate choice to act, and sometimes, this act calls us to be still and listen. When a friend needs someone to be there for them, learn to listen without interrupting. Not so surprisingly, most of them might just want to unload their emotions instead of hearing practical solutions they already know about. Listen to empathize, not to give advice!
Of course, listening to yourself is also important, which leads us to our next point.
4. To yourself: Don’t be harsh
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Oscar Wilde once said: “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” That said, being kind to yourself means treating yourself the way you treat other people—with kindness. Practice self-compassion by allowing yourself to feel and express negative emotions healthily. Do not shame yourself for committing errors. It happens to everyone, so there’s no need to be overly critical of yourself!
Additionally, it is crucial to learn to prioritize rest as much as work. Give yourself a break when overwhelmed without guilting yourself that you’re resting in the first place! Rest is just as important as productivity. To learn more about how to be kind to oneself, read 9 Tips on Self-Care For Your Mental Health.
5. To the world: Be environmentally conscious
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When we talk about kindness examples, we often forget that our home deserves the same acts of kindness we direct towards human beings. The world has been so kind to us, so it’s our job to return the favor! The best way to do this is to recycle when you can and conserve energy in the many places you go to. Quick tasks such as turning off the lights and closing the water tap when not in use can make a huge difference!
Celebrate World Kindness Day
Now that you realize opportunities to be kind are everywhere, it becomes easier to act on them. Most of the time, being kind just means paying attention to the people that surround us. In experiencing the hustle and bustle of life, we tend to overlook what we cherish the most: human relationships. Next time, take a step back and reevaluate—in looking closer, the urge to do acts of kindness will naturally flow out from you.
Plus, the best thing about being kind is that it never stops with one person! It causes a positive ripple effect on everyone at the receiving end. November 13’s celebration of World Kindness Day may be the push you need to do more acts of kindness, but everyday can be World Kindness Day!