Kindness is a choice. In our modern world sometimes it seems that the most important thing we can be is “busy”. But is “busy” a good thing to be? It’s important to make time to be kind, even in our busy, busy world.
Stress and short tempers and behaviors we may not like to see in ourselves can too easily become the norm when we are caught up in our non-stop activities.
Our overloaded plates force us to make choices that may not be in the best interest of those around us, or even ourselves. Rush here, rush there, and suddenly we are in a hurry to go even faster.
We feel stressed, and all too often, take it out on anyone in our immediate surroundings. Perhaps we snap at our spouse, our kids, coworkers, the store clerk.
The result is that we leave them feeling unhappy, and when we have a moment to reflect, we realize these negative interactions have left us unhappy, too.
Are we too busy to be kind?
What can we do to change the scenario?
It’s time to take a step back and rethink our behaviors – and our motivations.
It’s time to remember that no matter how busy we are, we are still capable of being kind.
We can choose to be kind even when we are busy.
We just need to refocus our intentions.
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How to Be Kind Even When We Are Busy
If you are ready to focus on being kind, despite a busy life, there are some steps you can take.
Consider how well you do each of the following actions and how you can improve on each one.
You may not do them perfectly or consistently at first. Make the effort anyway. Use them as a launching point for your efforts to be kind.
How to Be Kind in a Busy World
Be a Better Listener
Sure, you have your own thoughts to distract you, and things you want to say. However, learning to focus on whoever is speaking shows politeness and that you’re interested in what they’re saying.
Being a good listener shows that you care about the speaker.
But here is the catch – too often, we listen in order to respond. That pulls the focus away from kindness, and puts the attention onto you.
In order to be a better – kinder – listener, it’s important to listen in order to understand. To hear the message that person is sending. To know the purpose of sharing that information.
Show kindness to others by being a better listener.
Be kind by listening to understand the message, not simply to respond to it.
Slow Your Pace
The pace you’re keeping can cause you to overlook the feelings of others. Too much rushing about shows no kindness to others – or to yourself.
What can you cut back on in your life so that your pace isn’t always so frenzied?
Being busy does NOT make you more important, more vital, more necessary.
It just makes you busier.
Slow it down a bit, notice who is around you. Breathe deeply. Have a moment for yourself.
Show kindness to yourself by slowing your pace, even just a little bit.
Take a moment to be aware of life outside of your internal freeway.
Acknowledge The People Around You
It’s easy to make eye contact, smile, and say “good morning” as you walk past someone. You don’t even need to slow your pace for this.
A simple acknowledgement of the presence of others is the kind, human thing to do.
We can never really know what is going on inside someone else’s heart and mind. The smile you give just may be desperately needed by someone else.
Don’t hold back, because you can’t tell who needs acknowledgment the most at any given time.
Show kindness to others by acknowledging their presence with a smile, nod, or greeting.
A fraction of a second of effort by you might mean everything to the person who receives your smile.
If you notice a person is struggling with grocery bags, suitcases, etc. – offer a helping hand.
Say a kind word to a young mother whose toddler is throwing a tantrum. It can be invaluable in reassuring her she’s handling the situation well.
Hold the door open for anyone – young, old, male, female. It’s a simple act of kindness that everyone can appreciate.
Show kindness to others by offering assistance to them.
You never know when, sometime in the near future, you might benefit from the kindness of a stranger yourself.
Share Something Tangible
Your coworkers will feel the kindness from your very soul when you present them with home-baked cookies or other treats from time to time.
Your next-door neighbor will be overjoyed to find her driveway cleared from last night’s snow.
The friend with the newborn will shower you with thanks if you drop off a pre-cooked dinner.
Flowers or vegetables from your backyard garden. Freshly baked banana bread. The book you just finished reading that you found inspiring. The “what” isn’t so important.
It’s the message that you send when you share something of yours with someone else.
Show kindness to others by sharing.
Sharing something of your own with others is a kind thing to do. It says, “I care about you.”
Think About What Kindness Means to You
When you occasionally reflect on what kindness means to you, you’ll be better able to practice the virtue in your daily life.
Consider how closely patience and kindness are related: in order to be kind, you’ve likely got to be patient with others, no matter what else is going on in your own life.
Choose to be patient. Choose to be kind.
Show kindness to yourself and others by being patient.
Think about how you are impacted by both patience and kindness as a reminder of why they are considered to be such important virtues.
Find a Kindness Role Model
Do you know someone who’s exceptionally kind to others? Consider the ways that person displays kindness, and see if you can learn from them. Perhaps you can find some new ideas you can use as well.
It can be a well-known role model, such as Mother Teresa, or someone you know personally who inspires you.
Use an Affirmation
Make kindness an integral part of who you are with a powerful affirmation.
Start with the most basic one of all, and repeat these three little words several times a day. Let them seep deep into your soul until you feel the undeniable truth to them:
“I am kind.”
If you are new to using affirmations, here are 5 easy ways to use affirmations for beginners.
Read More about Kindness:
- Why We All Need More Kindness in our Lives
- How an Affirmation Can Make You a Kinder Person
- Inspiring Examples of Kindness During Crisis: Stories of Positivity
- 50 Ways You Can Make the World a Better Place (It’s All About Kindness)
Final Thoughts on Kindness Counts, So Make Time for It
Being kind to others is an easy virtue to practice. It doesn’t take a lot of work or effort. However, if you decide to apply the suggestions above, you’ll discover just how wonderful it feels to be kind. You will know, without a doubt, that regardless of how busy your life may be, there is always time to be kind.
- Be a Better Listener
- Slow Your Pace
- Acknowledge the People Around You
- Offer Assistance
- Share Something Tanglible
- Think About What Kindness Means to You
- Find a Kindness Role Model
- Use an Affirmation
And while being kind is good in and of itself, your kindness will often be paid back with more kindness that makes your life easier. In that sense, being nice to others has double benefits!