You never know what someone is going through

You never know what someone is going through: 15 ways to be kind

It’s always good to remember that someone or somewhere, someone is going through a difficult time and we should always be mindful of this. When you keep top of mind that you never know what someone is going through whenever you enter a room, or when you see someone, you can be a much more compassionate person to the world around you.

Sometimes, however, we get caught up in our own lives that it is easy to forget that there maybe someone out there hurting and we can help. Having the self-awareness and understanding that people are going through difficult times makes us want to be more kind and understanding to them.

Here are 21 ways that you can be kind without having any major sacrifices:

1. Compliment someone for no reason at all.

Never forget the power of making someone feel good. When you compliment people on things that have absolutely no reason behind them, you are planting the seed of a positive feeling in their mind and it is hard to forget something like that.

It doesn’t even have to be about their looks or lack of them, it can be about anything – like the way they carry themselves or a compliment on something they did. A simple compliment can raise someone’s confidence and make them feel good for hours on end.

2. Pay attention to someone in the room that no one else is paying attention to.

Have you ever noticed when you are in a room with a group of people, that they seem to pay more attention to the person talking than everyone else? Well, what about all of the other people in the room? They might be feeling out of place or awkward. It is easy for us human beings to forget about everyone else and focus on just one person.

Before you start talking about your own story, ask others about theirs and really listen. You might learn something that you didn’t know before.

3. Make eye contact with everyone no matter where you are at.

We all want to feel connected and engaged with the world around us. We like it when people make eye contact with us as we pass them in the hall or when we run into them at a party. We like it when someone is fully present in an interaction with us – it shows that they are interested in what we are saying and doing. In addition, it is just a kind thing to do.

If you are out at a party and there is a group of people standing around talking, go over and join them. If you are out with friends at the mall or just hanging out in a store, find someone that looks lost and make eye contact with them. It is all about showing that we are engaged with our surroundings and connecting with others.

4. Ask someone what they need or need help with.

One of the best ways to be kind is to ask someone what they need or what you can do for them. People often feel like no one cares about them and that nobody notices their struggles. So when someone does ask them this question, it generally brings a smile to their face.

It doesn’t always have to be something big either, like bringing in a large flat-screen television – sometimes people just need help moving some boxes or getting something from the store for them. You might not be able to do it, but you could ask around and find someone who can.

5. Listen when someone is trying to tell you a story or share their thoughts with you.

If someone is sharing a story with you and the person doesn’t seem to know how or where the next part of the story is going, don’t interrupt them by asking for details – just let them tell their story. In addition, don’t say anything like, “that is so cool” or “that was probably scary for you” until they are finished.

Just be patient and listen. You might learn something that you never knew about that person before.

6. Smile more and frown less.

Have you ever been to a doctor’s office or visiting a hospital? Did you notice that there were frowning people sitting and smiling at the same time? We often smile when we are happy and frown when we are upset.

It is hard to tell them apart though because they are on the same side of our face – if we hold up a smile in front of our face, it looks like a frown, but if we hold up a frown in front of our face, it looks like a smile. In addition, we can’t frown and smile at the same time.

So why do we frown so quickly when we are down and stirred? It is because our muscles are in a stiff position already and it just becomes a part of us – some people even have to practice smiling in front of the mirror because they never smile. Smile more and frown less, it will make you feel better about yourself and those around you who see you smile more.

7. Ask someone their name when they introduce themselves.

Asking someone their name is a simple gesture of kindness and has the added benefit of making sure that you remember it. The more you practice, the better you get at remembering names and that is just one more way to show kindness to others.

8. Look people in the eyes when you greet them.

When standing in a group or meeting with strangers, it is important to be present for your interactions as there are probably people waiting on you. The most important thing about your interactions is to listen and pay attention to what others are saying.

However, you don’t need to stop listening and ending conversations when people have finished talking. You can nod in agreement or disagree with something or comment on something they have said. In addition, you can make eye contact with them while they are talking.

Once someone is finished speaking, look at them directly while they are still talking to show that you care enough about what they have said to want to hold their gaze. Then look away again if you have to. That will help you show them that you are listening and paying attention to what they are saying.

9. Volunteer when someone needs help.

Sometimes there is a plate in the meeting room that everyone wants or someone wearing something so hideous that everyone wants to say something about it, but nobody knows what to say, so they leave it alone – but not forever. When this happens, don’t walk away because the person who needs your help hasn’t noticed yet and looks lost and vulnerable.

So volunteer to help them. It will help them feel like someone cares and is willing to help.

10. Ask someone to have dinner with you or meet you somewhere.

One of the most common things we do in our daily lives is eating food that someone else has prepared for us. So why not just ask them to prepare and bring it? Some people might be uncomfortable with this idea, but it is really kind of them and they probably want to meet you anyway. Just make sure that they are able to handle the things that you like on their menu, otherwise, it won’t work out well.

11. Accept someone’s apology or forgive them.

We all make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that someone is bad or evil. It just means that they made a mistake and need to be forgiven. Everyone makes mistakes and they are usually small ones, but we should always look at the bigger picture and decide if the person is trying to make amends for what they have done or if it was a one-time thing.

Look at it this way – the world is a harsh place and it’s filled with people who make mistakes. If we are always judging them, that’s never going to end well. Accept their apology and forgive them if they ask you to do so.

12. Keep your promises.

How many times have you made a promise to someone, either to do something or not to do something and then never followed through on it? Just one time is fine, but if you promise something more than one time and don’t keep it, why should others trust you?

Don’t make random promises to people either. If you are going somewhere, tell them before they go with you so that they know. That way, there is no confusion about what is going to happen and when. If you just tell them something on your way to the place and then decide not to go, you might hurt their feelings if they are looking forward to seeing you. As far as the don’t do this or don’t do that part of a promise, even if it was a joke or a hypothetical situation, your best bet is to just not say it at all.

13. Find someone who has done something right and tell them about it.

When you find someone who has done something right, don’t tell everyone else – just them. It will help them feel better about themselves and their work and it will also help boost their self-esteem so that they keep doing more things right. However, if the situation is dire and timely intervention is needed, you can let others know as well.

14. Stop pretending to understand what someone is talking about when you don’t really understand it just because you think it makes you look cool.

This is a common occurrence in the business world where you often work with people where you don’t know what they are talking about and they can tell that you don’t know what they are talking about, but they are so busy being overly enthusiastic that they just keep on going. Sooner or later, your lack of enthusiasm will be obvious to them because it is not matching theirs.

Instead of making it obvious, try to fake it. You will still probably not understand them and if someone asks you a question that you don’t understand or is unclear, just say you don’t know it. If they say anything else, let them talk and just nod or smile and nod sporadically to indicate that you are listening.

15. Be present for the good things that happen in life.

You might think that you are being a good person by keeping in touch with your friends on a regular basis by sending them text messages or asking them to go for dinner. However, it is still important to be there for the really good things – like their college graduation, wedding or promotion.

The wrap

At the end of the day, you need to be a good person. Realising that you never know what someone is going through will help you to not place any assertions or assume everyone is in good headspace. Being cognisant of this will also help to make you a better person and will improve the way you interact with people.

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