One of the best ways to embrace gratitude is to cultivate kindness. What exactly does that mean, though, and how can you implement it within your day-to-day life? At face value, we think of being kind as doing nice things for other people or being a ‘good’ person. In reality, aside from sociopaths and others who lack empathy, most people are neither good nor bad. Instead, we are all just human beings who may do good or bad things.
Being kind means far more than ticking off a list of good deeds. It also means being kind for no other reason than spreading a little joy in the world. Being kind and expecting rewards or praise defeats the entire purpose.
So, what does it mean to be kind, then, and how can you cultivate kindness? We can be kind to others and we can be kind to ourselves. Each type of kindness works in a slightly different way but both play a big part in gratitude, contentment, happiness, and the ability to open our hearts on a deeper level.
How to Cultivate Kindness
Whether kinder to others or kind to yourself, here are some ways to make being kind part of your daily life.
Although doing nice things for other people is a good step in the right direction, true kindness goes a lot deeper. It is also listening without thinking of what you want to say. It is treating all human beings with kindness, whatever their race, gender identification, sexuality, religion, beliefs, history, income or job. It is about having compassion for all living beings. It is about connecting to others. It is about being grateful for the people you meet and those in your life. It is about telling people how much they mean to you. It is setting boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others. Essentially, it is having a love for humans (and all creatures, too).
Being kind to yourself is every bit as important as being kind to others. It is a vital part of self worth and self love. It is treating yourself kindly and being gentle with yourself. It is having compassion for yourself. It is talking to yourself the way you talk to others. It is about cultivating non-judgement and ceasing the expectations you constantly put onto yourself. It is allowing yourself to stumble and get back up again. It is cheering yourself on and going easy on yourself when you fail. It is learning how to value yourself and all that you have to offer this world.
Now it’s over to you – how can you begin to be kinder to yourself and others? I hope these tips help you cultivate kindness and see how much it helps your daily gratitude practice.