With each New Year many of us make resolutions in which we aim to better ourselves and our community. Sometimes these goals of ‘running every day’ and ‘cooking healthier meals’ fade .This year, let’s get back to the basics and focus on something seemingly simple: being kind.
The Foundling’s grant manager, Ava Rosenblatt discusses how we all can do so in her blog piece:
“The Secret to Being a Kinder Person”
Everyone wants to think of themselves as a good person, but actually doing the right thing, or even knowing the right thing to do, is not easy. However, there is one simple thing you can do that, once you start doing it, will almost immediately make you a better person: It’s called trying. Like any other achievement, being a better person starts with simply putting in a little effort. Here are a few things to try:
Recognize kindness as a strength. One of the biggest obstacles to kindness is the idea that kindness somehow makes someone “weaker” or less successful – also known as the “nice guys finish last” myth. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Being kind is typically associated with satisfaction and feelings of meaningfulness in one’s life, and can even be better for business. Kindness towards others is also far from being weak – standing up for people in need often requires great bravery and personal strength.
See things from the other person’s perspective. You don’t have to agree with everything a person says and does in order to understand them. Taking the time and emotional energy to put yourself in another person’s shoes will help you relate to them better, and ultimately stimulate empathy – making kindness toward that person second nature. This is a good exercise for when you find yourself getting angry or holding a grudge against someone.
Avoid self-defeating attitudes and generalizations. People make all kinds of excuses not to care about one another, and even incorporate it into their life philosophy with the “everyone is just out for themselves anyway” attitude. The truth is, some people are out for themselves, and some aren’t – ask yourself which you feel better about being. There are many more excuses people use for not being kind, but they all boil down to this – being kind is difficult, and sometimes people just want to get out of doing difficult things.
Learn from your mistakes and accept your imperfections. Sometimes, you might say the wrong thing and make a situation worse. Other times, you may simply not have the emotional energy to help someone in need. Rather than using an excuse, owning up to your mistakes will help you avoid them in the future, and recognizing and accepting your imperfections will make you more tolerant of imperfections in others – preventing you from seeing yourself as “above” the people you are helping.
For more helpful hints and inspiration on how to improve our world,
visit Ava’s blog goodnessgeek.com