Practicing Gestures of Kindness
At times when life seems dull or dreary—or we find ourselves feeling weighed down by the heaviness of our to-do lists—engaging in an act of kindness can offer a much needed reconnection to goodness and lightness.
At times when life seems dull or dreary—or we find ourselves feeling weighed down by the heaviness of our to-do lists—engaging in an act of kindness can offer a much needed reconnection to goodness and lightness. Such gestures can help shift our train of thought to a more positive place and move our attention outside of ourselves, which can feel like a welcomed relief. Read on for eight simple ways to plant seeds of kindness in your world.
1) Offer a Blessing It’s powerful to remember that we have the ability to offer blessings to others by thinking a positive thought or sending out a prayer or aspiration for joy and ease. We don’t have to be overt with our blessings. There’s a certain sweetness that comes from simply holding someone in our thoughts for a moment as we pass them on the street or send them an email. We can send such blessings to people we care about, to people we know as acquaintances, and even to people for whom we have hard feelings. It’s a useful practice to stretch ourselves in extending our blessings to all people—wishing that they be graced with whatever is in their highest and best interests.
2) Point Out Strengths We live in a culture that often focuses more on people’s faults and limitations than on their gifts and strengths. Receiving a compliment can make a person’s day and even shift the way in which they regard themselves. We can all use such boosts from time to time, regardless of our age. If you catch someone demonstrating a skillful behavior or exhibiting a positive quality, point it out to them.
3) Write a Note of Appreciation While there are moments in life that warrant letters of complaint, there are also many moments that deserve to be acknowledged with notes of appreciation. When you receive excellent service, find yourself impressed by a company’s business practices, or feel deeply moved by a local performance—consider putting your positive experience into words and sharing them with the people who would appreciate hearing from you.
4) Forgive Someone Sometimes we can hold grudges longer than we really need to, forgetting that it’s even a possibility to forgive. Offering forgiveness frees up our emotional energy, allowing us to reclaim it and redirect it into more empowering forms. Forgiveness doesn’t need to mean that we condone what happened, rather, it means that we’re no longer interested in investing negative emotional energy in a particular person or situation. Consider if there’s someone you feel ready to forgive.