What actually is kindness? Saying a vaguely audible ‘yeeess’ through gritted teeth when your little sister asks to borrow that new dress? Cooking your parents a tasty (but budget-friendly) meal in payment for the full laundry basket you just brought home?
Or maybe helping an old lady cross the road, while your crush is watching.
There’s no denying these are good deeds – sister is dressed, parents are fed, and the old lady has not been squished by a car (not on our watch at least), but where do they actually sit on the kindness scale? Would they earn us enough points to get us into ‘The Good Place’, or can our kindness be counteracted if we benefit from it?
The answer sits in three simple resolutions. Follow these, and watch as your good-person score soars through the roof.
Being present and in the moment becomes almost impossible when you’re eager to get to the next step. A promotion, love stuff, new skills – all these things take time, so try to be patient and enjoy the journey. Once that niggling frustration is dealt with, the kindness will come naturally
Be kind to be kind
Whether it’s writing your gran a thank you note, planning a pampering session for a friend in need, or baking dairy-free brownies to accommodate that lactose intolerant colleague, little acts of kindness are great for showing others you care. Just don’t feel annoyed if your good deed isn’t then thanked, or it doesn’t pay off in the way you hoped. Let your driver be the fact that you are making someone else happy.
Quite often, the things we judge in other people are the problems we see in ourselves. Can’t stand that sickeningly sweet person? There might be a chance you struggle with optimism. Realise this, self reflect, and address the route of the problem before it turns into annoyance. If after all that, they still drive you nuts – steer clear.