Showing acts of loving kindness towards others positively contributes to our own well-being and happiness. When we give of ourselves to another in a selfless, loving, compassionate and kindhearted manner, it touches the other person’s life in a meaningful and powerful way. It can make all the difference in that person’s life on that day or longer-term.
People remember and hold onto acts of kindness to help give them hope when they are feeling low, hopeless, depressed or despondent. We can easily brighten someone’s day simply by showing we care. When we make a difference in other people’s lives, we feel good ourselves. It can also have a domino effect; when we are kind to someone, they in turn may be kind to someone else. Wouldn’t it feel good to spread sunshine, joy and happiness? During dark and dismal times, this is exactly what the world needs.
All too often though, it is easy to become wrapped up in our own problems, our busy lives, our jobs and the world’s ills at large. It is easy to become so preoccupied with our lives that we can sometimes forget about, neglect or ignore others. However, when we take a moment of our time to be kind to another, we are spreading our good will and are making the world just a little bit better and brighter.
When we contribute to others’ happiness, we feel happy, too. Even if you do not receive any validation or acknowledgement, know that your kindness is making a difference, and you can be happy in knowing that you are helping another to feel good. We do not need the validation in order to make a difference.
We can even be loving and kind towards those who are unkind, because they actually need it the most. “Kill them with kindness”, as they say. We can soften other people’s hearts and attitudes by doing so. We may not see the effects, but it is in fact having an impact.
Within our American culture, we are encouraged to pursue our individual goals and dreams and to think mainly about how to achieve our own happiness. It is not typical that acts of kindness are highlighted in the news. We often have to seek out these stories ourselves, or find them by joining special interest groups. Remembering to give to others seems to go against the grain of what society teaches us, and also against what may feel more instinctive to us.
“Instinct tells us that receiving is preferable, but giving brings real happiness results. If you truly want to maximize your happiness, then find ways to give to others. You won’t regret it.
We are incredibly powerful in our ability to make someone else’s day with very little effort on our part. And one study suggests that giving is an innate source of happiness in humans. The study found that toddlers before the age of two years old ‘exhibit greater happiness when giving treats to others than receiving treats themselves.”
- author unknown
To give a personal example, on the mental health forum where I help others with mild to severe mental health issues, many forum members have dysfunctional families, a lack of unconditional love, lack of friendships and feel that most people in their lives do not care about them. Many of them are suicidal.
I try to provide them with unconditional acceptance, love, caring and compassion, knowing how much pain they are in and how much is lacking. These members are so appreciative and grateful when others show their care and concern, and by doing so, it can help a member to simply just get through the day. When love pours in from several different people, it can make the difference between someone attempting suicide that day or not.
Now this is more of an extreme example given the particular population; however, I feel good about myself because I am giving myself to others, I am contributing to their well-being and happiness and am making a difference. I am happier in my own life by knowing I am helping others survive not only through the day, but also by giving them the sense that someone does truly care about them, even if it’s a perfect stranger on the Internet.
So this year, as you are working on ways to improve your own well-being and happiness, consider showing acts of loving kindness to others and finding ways to contribute to others’ happiness, too. Do random acts of kindness to strangers you meet and smile more at people. Genuinely ask someone how they are doing and extend yourself for a moment to show that you care and are willing to listen. Make someone laugh, and make their day! Or, if a friend or loved one is having a tough time, reach out and call them, visit them or perhaps bring them a thoughtful gift.
Always remember that if or when you are suffering in life, that others are suffering, too. Even through our own trials and tribulations, we can still show people we care by giving of ourselves in kind and meaningful ways. Your kindness will be appreciated, and you will feel better, too. You never know just how much of a difference you could be making in a person’s life. You will be a better person for it and your personal well-being and happiness will be greatly enhanced as a result!
Here’s to showing loving kindness and to your happiness!