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These Simple Things You Do Can Change the World But You Don’t Realize It

These Simple Things You Do Can Change the World But You Don’t Realize It

One of the easiest things to do to help change the world is to spread kindness. Yet so often we forget to take the time and, in fact, take many of our loved ones for granted. It’s important to remember to be kind because life can sometimes be terribly unkind. It can be relentless and often quite painful.

We are all put on this planet to do something with our lives, to make others happy, to help and serve others. With this in mind, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about how you can spread the gift of kindness to those around you. If we can take time out to remember to show kindness to those around us, to strangers and to animals, hopefully it will cause a knock-on effect, so that others can spread the kindness further.

I’ve come up with 20 tips to get you started so we can all change the world—one step at a time.

1. Be thankful

Saying thank you to someone because they helped you, they’ve served you in your local store or they’ve continually supported and listened to you over the years is a big deal. Taking time out to be grateful for the people in your life, your job, your home, and just being able to live and breathe is essential for living a good and happy life.

2. Become non-judgmental

When you judge people and their lives it normally means that you judge yourself just as harshly, which can make it a pretty bad habit to have. No one likes to be judged. To change the world, the less you judge others the less likely others will judge you.

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3. Helping others

If you are like me, it’s hard to ask for help from those around you. So whenever someone is in need, always remember that it was probably difficult for them to ask for your help. Go a step further than normal and offer to help before they ask. Do it with no expectation and do it with kindness.

4. Be kind to those you may otherwise take for granted

Many of us take our loved ones, specifically our partners or parents, for granted. Life is short so remember to be kind and loving to those who are always there in your life no matter what, before it’s too late and they are no longer around.

5. Remember how you felt when others have been kind to you

Take a little moment right now, sit still and really think about how it makes you feel when someone takes time out of their busy schedule to be kind to you. It feels good, doesn’t it? Now is the time to spread that kind of feeling to others. Imagine how this could change the world around us: that feeling that we all have when someone is kind to us. Amazing, right?

6. Be kind to you

To be kinder to others it’s so important to be kind to yourself to start off with. How can you be kind, loving and loyal to those around you if you can’t extend the same courtesy to yourself? So start today, write a list of three things you are thankful for about yourself and write in a journal each day to remind yourself.

7. Think of others before acting

Before you leap into a situation, or try stepping in to help someone who you think may be suffering, try to think of how they feel about the situation first. They may not want you to get involved, or your involvement could cause them embarrassment or, worse, pain. Imagine if a world leader stopped to think first about how their country felt before deciding to start a war, imagine what kind of change that could make to the world? I know that this example is extreme but you can start small. So start with thinking about others’ feelings before you act upon your own.

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8. Encourage rather than criticize

So many times we jump in to criticize someone—which often comes from our own fears and insecurities—but rarely do we encourage as our first thought. Help others see what they do as positive; this will give them a well-deserved lift to their self-esteem, encouraging them to do it more often.

9. Put the shoe on the other foot

So often we are unkind when we only see things from our own perspective. Before reacting to what someone has said or done, ask yourself this: “What would I do and feel if I were in their shoes and what in this person can I see in me?” Being mindful is important: think before you react and you’ll be surprised by the results.

10. Do unexpected things

Imagine receiving a note in your lunch box just to say, “I love you,” or, “Thank you.” How would that make you feel? Try expressing your kindness and gratitude by doing little unexpected things for your loved ones. Make them feel wonderful and you too will feel just as good simply by doing it.

11. Be there

Listen without thinking of what to say next. Be there for someone just because. Take time out to help someone to figure things out. Just be there. It’s that simple.

12. Do the little acts of kindness

We go through our daily lives existing most of the time. We rush from place to place not really acknowledging those around us. So start smiling at strangers, saying hello and thanking them for holding a door open or letting you cross the road in front of them. To change the world we need to continually do the little things every single day.

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13. Give yourself a kind gift

When was the last time you treated yourself to something special or luxurious? It doesn’t have to be something expensive; by all means treat yourself to a lovely long soak in the bath, or a nice healthy meal or a lovely long stroll along a golden beach. Whatever it is, see it as a gift to yourself.

14. Help someone practically

Whether it’s helping them with their shopping or helping them move home, helping someone out practically and not asking anything in return is both rewarding and kind. When someone offers without wanting anything back it is pretty hard to receive, but feels wonderful as the receiver. So start doing things for others, especially those who can’t get out and about like they used to.

15. Encourage positivity and kindness in others

This step isn’t about telling others what to do and how to live, it’s more about noticing when those around you do something kind and then telling them how great they were for doing it. Encourage as much as you can; many of us do things that go unnoticed, then when someone comments on it, it can make you want to do it again and again.

16. Do something for someone without them knowing

One of the biggest ways to show kindness is to do it unconditionally. Many of us do things because we’d like to get something back, and then if it’s not returned we can get resentful. So as you show kindness on a daily basis to those you love, do something kind for them without them knowing who it was. This will make them feel wonderful and help to shape their view of people in general. It will make them believe that there are people who do things without expectation.

17. Do something kind every day

Make it a habit to do something kind every single day. It can be something small, a gesture, a kind remark or a compliment. Anything at all! But make it a habit, like brushing your teeth, and do it daily.

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18. Be kind to animals

Whether you have a dog or a cat at home, or if you don’t care for animals so much, make it a choice to be kind to animals. Animals live on this planet too and have as much right to exist and share this beautiful world with us. It doesn’t matter how you show your kindness. Just don’t be cruel. Understand that animals have to survive too and that they are beautiful, magnificent creatures just like us.

19. Give to charity

When we give to a charity we are helping others fulfill their purpose in providing support in such a way that we could never possibly imagine. When there are massive disasters in other countries, many people flock to that country to help at a moment’s notice without giving it a second thought. If this isn’t you, then do your bit and give to charity to help support them in being kind across the world. What a fantastic way to change the world!

20. Be kind to your enemies

This is important, especially if we want to change the world. Whomever you perceive as your enemy, take a good hard look at them and their life. Think about what makes them your enemy and ask yourself if it’s important to hold a grudge or to continue making your life miserable by being unkind or uncaring?

Start to see things differently, think about why someone could be the way they are. Have they had a hard time? Are they perhaps insecure and full of fear, which is why they react to you in the way they do? Remember, what we usually see in someone else can be what we see in ourselves, which is why we don’t like them. Change yourself and start to be kinder and nicer to those you no longer get along with. You’ll see a huge change, and if not within them, then in you.

So how can you start to be a kinder person from today? What do you need to do more of and why? Let us know in the comments.

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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