health · self care

World Kindness Day: Make Kindness the Norm

It’s World Kindness Day and I thought it would be a good idea to post some resources to help you explore this year’s theme ‘Make Kindness the Norm.’

a promotional image for World Kindness Day that reads 'Kind People Are My Kind Of People' in the center and 'World Kindness Day 2021' in the bottom right.
Image description: Multi-coloured text in the center of the image (against a white background) reads ‘Kind People Are My Kind Of People.’ In the bottom right corner is black text that reads ‘World Kindness Day’ and orange text that reads ‘2021’ with the url inspirekindness.com in black and orange beneath. The black letters in ‘World Kindness Day’ look as if they were cut from an image of the sun rising behind planet Earth. Image source

Encouraging people to be kind to themselves is one of my favourite things to do. I have a whole series of Go Team! posts here on the blog and I wrote a post about self-kindness this time last year.

I also love encouraging people to be kind to others but I tend to do that more in person (and I hope by leading by example) than I do in writing. However, given this year’s theme, I thought I would try to write a bit more about being kind to others.

With the way things are structured these days, it often feels like we are rewarded for snarkiness or snap judgements. There is a sense that we are in constant competition and that it is everyone for themselves.

It takes some effort to look beneath that dominant narrative and see the everyday kindness and the big-picture-positive projects that are happening all around us. It’s worth the work to find them though and once you start noticing them, you will begin to see them more and more often.

Obviously there are a lot of bad things going on in the world and a lot of things that need to change. I would never suggest that you ignore those issues but while we are working on them, we can also work on creating more kindness in the world.

Please don’t get caught up in the idea that kindnesses that you can perform and participate have to be grand gestures and huge tasks. Small acts of kindness can make a huge difference in one person’s life and making a small contribution to a bigger project can have a wide-ranging effect.

Kindness at any scale is incredibly powerful.

Image description: a sepia photo of a country road extending into the distance with trees and bushes on both sides. White text in the center reads ‘Do small things, with great love.’ and a small read triangle beneath the text attributes the quote to Mother Teresa. image source.
An image of a tweet from the UN (@UN) that reads: During times of difficulty, love and solidarity can help us stay strong. Saturday’s #WorldKindnessDay is an opportunity to demonstrate how small acts of kindness can create a better world for us all. The tweet includes an image from artist Margaret To which shows multicoloured dots arranged in rows with a yellow heart as the centre dot. The text in the image reads ‘Your kindness is contagious’

I’m not at all suggesting that you flip a switch and turn into a selfless person who operates only from kindness. Instead, I’m inviting you to make a difference for everyone involved by choosing the kindest option whenever it presents itself.

I think it would be good for the health, wellness, and brain space of everyone involved.

Note: a quick google search will produce tons of articles showing how being kind to others benefits us, I like the idea of letting go of that expectation and being kind for its own sake. I’m not suggesting that you dismiss the good feelings that may arise from kindness, those are terrific, but I think that having those feelings as our goal can lead to disappointment.

If you want some specific suggestions for kind actions, here’s a great list from the Random Acts of Kindness website:

An image from Random Acts of Kindness that has a list of kindness ideas featured on a white rectangle against a background of a flower with multicoloured petals. The text on the image reads '7 ways to start making kindness the norm in your daily life 1. send an uplifting text to a friend or family member. 2. Let that guy merge into traffic with a wave and a smile. 3. Include intentional moments of kindness, laughter and delight in your daily routine. 4. Go slightly outside of your comfort zone at least once a day to make someone smile. 5. Share a complement with a coworker or friend. 6. Reach out to a family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. 7. Treat someone to a cup of coffee a friend, a stranger, or even yourself.  Larger text under the white rectangle reads: Make kindness the norm. #WorldKindnessDay #BigKindnessTheNorm www.RandomActsofkindness.org
An image from Random Acts of Kindness that has a list of kindness ideas featured on a white rectangle against a background of a flower with multicoloured petals. The text on the image reads ‘7 ways to start making kindness the norm in your daily life 1. send an uplifting text to a friend or family member. 2. Let that guy merge into traffic with a wave and a smile. 3. Include intentional moments of kindness, laughter and delight in your daily routine. 4. Go slightly outside of your comfort zone at least once a day to make someone smile. 5. Share a complement with a coworker or friend. 6. Reach out to a family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. 7. Treat someone to a cup of coffee a friend, a stranger, or even yourself.  Larger text under the white rectangle reads: Make kindness the norm. #WorldKindnessDay #MakeKindnessTheNorm www.RandomActsofkindness.org
 

I also found these great resources for you to explore:

Unconditional positive regard is an ongoing kindness that can strengthen our relationships.

Download a Kindness Calendar

Some Ways to be Kind to Yourself

How to be More Kind

More Kindness Resources at Random Acts of Kindness and at Inspire Kindness

A small kindness challenge from Greater Good Science Center.

This embedded video from the MyLife YouTube channel is entitled ‘Kindness Meditation (Strengthen Happiness)’
This embedded YouTube video is from the Greater Good Science Center and is entitled ‘Being Kinder to Yourself’

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