Kindness is the best gift you can give another. It costs nothing to be kind and considerate of other people. In the world we live in, we are surrounded by libertarian ideals that perpetuate the importance of the individual over the collective social unit, so it becomes easier to be self-absorbed and less mindful of how our actions impact other people. With this in mind, it's essential that we start thinking of others besides ourselves and what better time of year to start than the Christmas period?
Kindness encompasses many things—selflessness, compassion, self-love and care so I'll take you through my guide of kind acts to engage in for your own benefit as well as for others so as to have a wonderful festive season and a joyous new year.
It's virtually impossible to be kind to others if you’re not kind to yourself first. Self-love means that you come first. That you’re the priority. That you can’t get caught up in how others feel just because you picked yourself. It means that how you feel is always a factor in the conversation. By all means, be nice to other people. But be nice to yourself too. Celebrate your wins. Celebrate yourself and how far you’ve come. Hold your head high with pride regardless of other people. Be content with the growth you’ve shown, big or small. And be happy to be present. It’s your duty to do what is best for you—so do it.
I think a smile is a beautiful gift to give another. And it is also free. Something about seeing someone else smile is just enough to make you yourself smile. Smiles are contagious; they release endorphins and allow you to feel relaxed and happier. You see someone smile and instinctively you simile back: it's a gift. When I think of the struggles that people, myself included, go through, smiling at someone else, making them feel happier, making them feel like they belong, letting them feel they’ll be okay—it's all worth it. Try smiling at other people. It makes us all happier.
Giving your time up for other people is so beautiful. It allows you to meet other people and make new friends, understand people from all walks of life and give back to the local community. It’s important to volunteer in some way throughout your adolescence. It's a reminder that there are various lenses that we see life through. It teaches that we can help others by just being there for them. It's also a chance for you to grow as an individual, broaden your horizons and learn new skills. Try it.
4. Be conscious of others.
Know that we’re all different and it’s beautiful. But it also means we have different tolerances, preferences, ideals and beliefs. What I like may differ vastly from the likes of another. I love getting hugged and giving them, but my sister cringes at such physical contact, as an example. When we were younger, I used to think it very weird—who wouldn’t love being hugged? But as we grew up, I began to understand that it may just make her feel uncomfortable and that’s fine. Make it a mission to understand other people. Accept their differences from you and don’t judge them because of it.
5. Compliment others.
Make people feel good being around you. Again, the world doesn’t revolve around you. Let people like you. It honestly costs nothing to make others feel better about themselves. I can definitely speak, as a woman, that we find it so difficult to compliment one another and I truly wonder why that’s the case. Maybe it’s subtle competition for attention. Maybe it’s the fact you subconsciously don’t want others to feel good about themselves. But regardless, it's pathetic. Let other people have their moments. They deserve it too. We mask our pain and hurt so well as humans: complimenting another makes them feel worthy.
6. Be thankful.
I know it may not feel like it sometimes, but we have so much to smile about. We're alive and with life, there’s hope. We have access to basic amenities and luxuries which is more than can be said of millions of others across the globe. We have our loved ones. We have this time of year to reflect, be kind to others, give back to our communities and grow. Be thankful for all that you have because nothing lasts forever.
Sometimes the best you can do for someone is listen to what they have to say. Not all of our problems can be solved through a discussion but sometimes being willing to listen is the best you can be for a person. And sometimes, that’s all they need. By listening to what someone has to say, they feel like they matter. And we all matter, whether or not we feel that way.
8. Wish others the best.
I think this is important for two reasons. Firstly, on the premise that you should love other people like you love yourself—wish onto others that which you wish yourself. I like to think of society and humanity as my family. Just as I want people I'm related to be successful, I wish the best to others I encounter and hope for happiness in all they pursue. The second reason is that I believe that which you wish others is that which will befall you.
9. Be genuine in your kindness.
Be kind because you wish to help another. Be kind to help another feel better. I feel like it’s very easy to something for the sake of looking good or feeling better about yourself. True goodness lies in acting for the better of others. Sometimes, making a person feel cared for is the greatest gift they can receive.
10. Treat everyone the same.
I believe that despite our differences, we are equal. I say are tentatively because in practice, many of us still face injustices and adversities—BAME groups still disproportionately impacted by the repercussions of colonialism; women (dependent on the industry) are paid 90p for every £1 a man is paid in the UK; members of the LGBTQ+ still receive prejudice. The point is that we are all different. But our differences shouldn’t deny any of us humanity. And the change starts with us.
In this time as we approach a new year, we should all try to just be kind. To be kind to one another. To be kind to ourselves. Many of us have had a rough few years so the best we can do is give each other the best of us. Try to be kind to friends, family, neighbors and to you. For it is the pathway to a rich life.