We have all probably heard many times of the importance of being kind to others, which is something that I certainly agree with. I have heard a lot of people saying how it is important to talk about mental health, but one of the things that can be done on top of talking about mental health is being kinder to others. In this article, I will talk about 4 ways in which you can be kind to people that you know. Note that the tips I share are all very simple to do and probably obvious, but are ones that get overlooked all the time.
Respect other people’s feelings for what they are
I wrote a blog post on how everyone is fighting a battle that you do not know about, which can be found here. Because everyone is fighting their own unique battles, it is important to respect other people’s feelings for what they are. As important as it is to be grateful and positive, it is impossible to feel like this 100% of the time, and there will be times where we feel down. That is why we should be understanding when other people feel down or are struggling, and one good way to be kind is to respect their feelings for what they are. I personally would feel good if other people are understanding of my feelings when I feel low, even if they don’t know what to do to help. Remember that the last thing that you would want when you feel low is to feel judged or to feel that your feelings are being invalidated by others, so you shouldn’t invalidate the feelings of others.
Be proactive and reach out to others
A lot of us say to others something along the lines of “If you need to talk, I am here”. In my opinion, that is not enough on its own, especially if you don’t ever reach out to them after that. It is important to take the initiative and reach out to others. This doesn’t have to be via a one hour phone call, it could just be via a simple text message. It is really easy to underestimate how much reaching out can help others, but I can say from experience that even a simple text message from someone asking how I was would make my day sometimes. I have found that reaching out to others is not being done as often as it should, and a common reason that people put this down to is busy schedules. I fully appreciate that in some cases, busy schedules can mean lots of stress which can mean that people may not be mentally ready to reach out to others. Furthermore, you may not be mentally ready to reach out to others for other reasons, which is completely understandable. However, reaching out to someone via text literally only takes two minutes, which you definitely can set aside in your day if you are in the right mental state to reach out to others.
Give compliments and thank them when relevant
Similar to reaching out asking how they are, giving them a compliment or thanking someone can really make someone’s day. One thing I want to make extremely clear is that everyone is trying to do the best they can every day, even if they are facing massive challenges on a daily basis. When people are trying the best they can under adversity, sometimes it is receiving praise of some form that can massively help boost their motivation and morale. In my current job, I will admit that someone telling me “Good work” or “Thank you for doing a good job in this task” does make me smile and help motivate me. Most of us would admit that we enjoy receiving praise and thanks when we do something good, so we should also try to give praise to others when it’s deserved. Note that doesn’t mean that you should never give constructive criticism, and constructive criticism is also useful when relevant.
Be a good listener, even if you have no idea what to say
If we are to encourage other people to talk about their feelings, then we have a responsibility to be the best listener that we can be to them. I appreciate that it can be hard in cases where you just don’t know what to say in response to the other person. However, from what I have seen, nearly everyone is understanding of this, and people genuinely don’t mind if you turn around and admit that you don’t know what to say. If anything, they would just want you being a good listener and hearing what they have to say. Being a good listener doesn’t just mean hearing everything someone else says, you also have to give your full and undivided attention when listening to them. That means you shouldn’t be doing things such as checking your phone every 2 minutes or watching TV at the same time. Remember that if we expect other people to be a good listener when we are feeling down, then we should do the same to others.