Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. – Leo Buscaglia
Did you know that on April 28th, over 80 countries participated in a global initiative known as ‘Pay It Forward Day’?
Founded by Blake Beattie in Australia in 2007, it has now grown to include more than 79 countries, including India, Argentina, Russia, and Argentina. The concept is simple: changing the world, ONE good deed at a time.
But what if we made an effort to pay it forward by being kind every single day?
Simple, thoughtful acts of kindness can make someone’s day; it costs nothing, and creates a positive ripple effect. But in order to be kind to others, you need to be kind to yourself first.
Here are seven easy acts of kindness that begins with you.
7 Acts of Kindness To Create a Kinder World
1.) Love Yourself
Accept yourself as you are and learn to love all of your qualities. Easier said than done, right? If it were that easy, we wouldn’t have a multi-million dollar beauty industry!
We tend to be most harsh on ourselves. The simplest way to begin to love yourself is to notice when your inner critic rears its ugly head. When this happens, stop yourself from indulging in whatever you believe is wrong with you and start focusing on your positive traits.
Find at least ONE thing you like about you everyday and say it to yourself in the mirror. It works. Try it, even if you feel ridiculous talking to yourself at first.
2.) Let Go of Judgment
While you are talking to yourself in the mirror, notice how quickly your mind goes back to judging your appearance. Notice when you are judging others as well. The first step is to acknowledge that you are judging yourself and others. The second step is to NOT judge yourself for judging!
“When you judge another, you do not define them. You define yourself.” – Wayne Dyer
As an alternative, try unattached observation of yourself and others, without needing to label what you see as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
This may take some practice, as the mind likes to stick to old habits. The more you catch yourself in the act of judgment and choose to see the beauty in yourself and others instead, the less judgmental you will become over time.
3.) Appreciate Differences
When you let go of judgment, you will begin to appreciate what makes you – and others – unique.
We all come from the One Creator. Whether it’s a difference in race, religion, sexual orientation, or even a difference in opinion, recognize that there is beauty in contrast. We will not always agree with everyone we cross paths with.
So show respect for others. Accept and appreciate our differences. The world would be a very boring place if we were all exactly the same.
4.) Empathize with Others
While we are appreciating our differences, we must NOT forget our humanity.
Deep down, we share many of the same problems and struggles as our fellow humans. It’s easy to jump to conclusions about another person, or situation, without knowing all the facts. We never truly know what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes.
Instead, imagine yourself in their shoes for a moment. Feel what it’s like to be that person, to deal with their unique issues. Give that person the benefit of the doubt until you know all of the facts.
5.) Practice Forgiveness
When you give someone the benefit of the doubt, it opens the door to forgiveness. Practice forgiveness with yourself and others.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you will forget, nor condone unacceptable behaviour. Withholding forgiveness keeps you in a state of resentment and prevents you from moving past the pain of whatever has hurt you.
Offer yourself peace of mind by letting go of anger and hurt for any wrongdoing you have suffered as a result of your own, or other’s actions.
6.) Spread Joy
When you have peace of mind, it becomes easy to spread joy. Smile – when you are joyful you affect the energy of those around you. Laugh – it’s contagious!
While our emotions will ebb and flow throughout the day, it’s important to remember to smile and to find the humor in a situation whenever possible and appropriate. If you’re having a rough day, you can easily spread negativity by complaining. This doesn’t mean that you should not express your feelings though.
Instead of indulging in what’s going wrong, focus on what’s going right. Smile to yourself, even if you need to fake it at first. Psychologists have reported that a fake smile can trigger a change in your brain activity that will lead to a happier mood.
7.) Take the Initiative
Finally, with a joyful smile on your face, you’re ready to take action and carry out little acts of kindness. Do something good for another person TODAY. Don’t wait for others to take the first step.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Show others the way to pay it forward by your example and expect nothing in return. This can be a small thing like picking up garbage on the street, holding the door open for someone, or buying coffee for a stranger.
There are many acts of kindness to make a kinder world. It all starts with YOU. Create a kinder mind and you will create a kinder world.
Pay it forward everyday.