How to be kind seems simple enough. But sometimes it feels impossible to be kind and loving, don’t you think? We get so angry and frustrated at events happening in our lives that we cannot access that loving place inside of us. Instead, our eyes go from side to side as our fists clench and minds whirl with angry thoughts. Some of us even spew those thoughts out into the world with our talk and our actions.
Or sometimes we just don’t know what to do. We have a nagging feeling that we need to be doing something, but we’re just not sure what.
When this happens, I always like to sit down and take a moment to reflect. I know that, when you love someone, there must be a better way and that the best antidote to these feelings is to act loving even if I don’t feel very much like doing so. And sometimes I just need a little more help – some prompts, ideas, things to get me going, to shift my emotions. So I made this list of 87 ways to be kind and loving. So next time you feel stuck and are unsure how to be kind in that moment, check this list and you will definitely find something to get you moving in the right direction.
Please share this list freely because there just can’t be too much kindness and love in the world.
How to Be Extra Kind with Loved Ones
Even with people we know and love, acts of kindness don’t necessarily spring out of nowhere. It takes a conscious decision by us to be kind. Here are some tried and true ideas for how to be kind with those special people in our life.
- Surprise them with an unexpected visit or phone call.
- Give them a big hug.
- Express your empathy. Often the greatest gift we can someone else is the gift of empathy. This short video from Brené Brown does a great job of explaining the difference between sympathy and empathy – and why empathy is so amazing.
- Give them a handwritten card or letter.
- Babysit for free. To new parents especially, this can mean the world. I have done this several times for my neighbors after the toddler went to bed. I could stay there in case the child woke up, but almost always I simply read my book on the couch and let the parents have a well-deserved break to go get a glass of wine.
- Write them a letter.
- Make them a meal. When my partner had surgery and I felt stretched very thin, the frozen meals that our loved ones had brought over made such a difference.
- Go visit your parents. Tell them how much you appreciate them (or at least one thing about them you appreciate).
- Treat them to their favorite coffee.
- Say ‘I love you’ with meaning.
- Tell them how wonderful they are and how happy you are to have them in your life.
- Ask, “How can I help you?”
- Make them a cup of tea
- Listen to them carefully without interrupting
- Say, “I’m sorry.”
- Buy them a gift from the dollar store.
- Help with a household chore.
- Tell them you wish you understood.
- Bring them Ibruprofen for their headache.
- Invite them to play.
- Acknowledge and respect their feelings even if you feel they are not accurate / appropriate.
- Hold their hand.
- Buy them a small chocolate (but not if they’re on a diet. :-))
- Gently wash and dress their cut/wound.
- Tell them about the best part of the day you just spent with them.
- Let them sleep.
- Offer them a drink of water.
- Wear or use a gift they gave you in their presence.
- Keep that sigh to yourself.
- Use a kind voice even if you have to fake it.
- Listen for the feelings behind the words.
- Put chocolate chips in their pancakes.
- Visit a sick friend.
- Run them a bath.
- Give a new mom her own gift.
- Respect someone’s wishes.
- Write messages of love and put them in their lunches.
- Choose a book they might like and lend it to a friend.
- Take the garbage out for a friend.
- Hold them while they cry.
- Give them a chocolate bandaid.
- Invite them over for scones and clotted cream.
- Send a copy of a photo to the person in it.
- Make someone else’s bed.
- Share your knowledge with someone who needs it.
- Share herbs from your garden.
- Share a good recipe.
Sometimes we just need a little inspiration to spread some love and kindness in the world. You’ll definitely find something on this list!Click to tweet
Download this FREE activity to teach kids about kindness #GrowKindness
How to Be Kind with Strangers
To feel the many benefits of kindness, both internal and external, it’s not necessary to know the person at all. Sometimes acts of kindness for strangers are the most powerful kind.
- Take a rose to someone in the home for the elderly. Or simply go there with the intention of connecting and conversing with someone.
- Say please and thank you.
- Let someone go first through a door.
- Buy a box of cookies and offer them around.
- Carry someone’s bags.
- Pick up some trash.
- Be extra polite.
- Donate your “read” books to the library.
- Buy a sandwich for the person asking for cash in front of the grocery store.
- Hold up your hand in thanks when other drivers let you through.
- Welcome new people to your neighborhood, school, club, etc. – Community is an essential part of a happy life, but it’s also something that many of us feel is missing. A simple phone call or message of welcome can really mean the difference to someone who is in a new, vulnerable situation.
- Hold a door open for someone.
- Buy a stranger lunch. The last time this happened to me, I was traveling in Guatemala – and it touched me very deeply.
- Put change in an expiring meter.
- Offer up your seat.
- Return a misplaced or lost item.
- Smile at every stranger at the mall.
- Donate your unwanted items
- Send off a care package to the military.
- Share your homegrown vegetables.
- Pay for a strangers bridge toll.
- Write Post-It notes with encouraging messages and leave them in library books.
- Write a thank you note.
- Leave some change at the coffee machine.
- Let people through in traffic.
- Use a compost bin and recycle as much as possible.
- Acknowledge someone else’s kindness to you.
- Leave a tip plus another dollar.
- Pay a compliment.
- Leave your old magazines in waiting rooms.
- Buy some flowers and give them out.
- Let someone go ahead at the checkout.
- Be patient when you want to yell.
- Water someone’s drying / dying flowers.
- Let someone cut in line at the movie theater.
- Listen carefully to what someone is really passionate about.
- Ask a customer service person genuinely how they’re doing.
- Invite someone who recently moved to town for coffee.
- Be extra patient and understanding.