9 Kindness Tips for the Smart Lady Who Wants to Do Good
Ever since the election last year, I have definitely been feeling the need to spread as much kindness and goodness out in the world as possible. But sometimes even smart ladies don’t know which way to direct their brain magic to achieve this! Should I volunteer? How many marches should I be attending? (Probably all of them). While I donated to a couple of charities, it still didn’t feel like enough. There were so many issues to care about and people to help, the desire to do the most good quickly became overwhelming. Since then, I’ve learned that sometimes the best thing to do is start small, so here are nine easy ways to spread a little light in even the darkest of times, because the more positivity you send out into the world, the nicer a place it’ll be for all of us.
1. Get off the negativity train, and into the positivity station!
From the minute you wake up in the morning, you’re bombarded with negativity. When we’re feeling stressed or insecure, it’s so easy to fall into the very same trap and project our negative feelings onto others. That’s why it’s important to amp up the self-awareness. If you catch yourself acting less than supportive of a friend’s good news or being unnecessarily judgmental of a stranger for no apparent reason, time to step back and take a look at what’s really going on. It’s okay to be in a bad mood sometimes, but the sooner we reflect on what’s really bothering us, the sooner we can dump the negative attitude and get back to enjoying our lives.
2. Give thoughtful, meaningful compliments
Nothing boosts someone’s day faster than a genuine compliment. But as women, too often the compliments we hear are only about our appearance. While these come with good intentions, they’re not always what we want to be praised for. Instead, if you want to encourage a female friend, coworker, or family member, look for ways they’re succeeding at their job. Did they get a promotion or tackle a big project? If they’ve recently gone through a difficult situation in their lives, celebrate how strong they were in handling it. Acknowledging a woman’s smarts or talents will not only make her feel good, but also empower her to continue to succeed.
3. When someone needs to talk, actually LISTEN without judgment or comment
Lending a supportive ear to friends and family seems like such an easy piece of advice, and yet I know I’ve been guilty in the past of failing to follow it. We get so caught up in our own issues, sometimes we miss signs that someone in our life is feeling very alone and could really use our undivided attention. Make the effort to ask how the people around you are doing, and genuinely listen to their response. When they share their feelings, don’t immediately try to make the conversation about a similar situation you’re in – just listen and ask if and how you can help. Sometimes, the instinct for a smart lady is to help problem solve, but in some cases, people just want a friend to talk to, and that’s when listening is key.
4. Spend a whole day being grateful
Like listening, remembering to show gratitude is one of those things that seems so simple but gets lost in the daily chaos of life. Make sure you say thank you to the barista who makes you morning coffee. Give an extra big tip to your waiter at lunch. At work, tell your coworkers or assistants how much you appreciate the long hours they’ve put in. It’s no surprise that people work harder when they feel like their effort is being acknowledged. Gratitude should also extend to those closest to us. Never forget to tell your parents or significant other how much they mean to you. Maybe you think they already know, but I doubt anyone tires of hearing it.
5. Reach out to someone when they really need it
You may remember as a child your parents telling you to be nice to everyone at school, even the one kid nobody plays with. The truth is the loneliest kid actually needs the most kindness and positivity of anyone, and we should carry that idea onwards into our adult lives. While you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, be on the lookout for ways to make others feel welcome and accepted. Invite a new coworker out for lunch with the crew. If you’re cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner, think of any friends who may not have close relatives to celebrate with and invite them over. Remember older relatives who may not have anyone to talk to. Give them a call or send an old fashioned letter. It’s a small gesture on your part, but will likely mean the world to them.
6. Teach someone a new skill and empower them for life
Even as adults, we constantly face different challenges, and it can be a little embarrassing when you have no clue what you’re doing and need to learn a new skill. What makes those uncomfortable inadequacies a lot less awkward? Getting help from someone you trust. Learning new skills from a good pal who will make zero judgments is the best, so consider ways you can share your knowledge with a friend in need. For example, if you know someone who’s looking to change careers later in life, offer to look over their resume or give them interview advice. If you’re great at computers, teach your friends (or older family members) how to feel more comfortable with various apps and programs. Whenever I show my mom how to do something new on her iPad, she feels empowered, and I feel like a hero to mankind.
7. Put your crafty talents to work in the name of philanthropy
This is great for someone who wants to spread kindness in a more active, physical way. Do you love to crochet or knit? Do fabric stores fill your heart with glee? Have you run out of loved ones to give scarves to? If you answered yes to any of these, then consider turning those mad crafting skills towards a charitable endeavor. There are tons of national charities that would love to have your beautiful homemade goods. And what if you’re not crafty in the slightest but still want to help out? Host a party for your friends who are! Guests can choose to participate, or just donate yarn or fabric. Then everyone gets to have fun and be social for a good cause!
8. Celebrate someone’s un-birthday (or any other day) with an unexpected gift
I love birthdays and Christmas because picking out the perfect gift for someone brings me so much joy. But sometimes I can’t wait the long months until I have a gift-giving holiday to celebrate. The good news is, you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to shower your friends and family with presents. They don’t have to be expensive, but they should be thoughtful. Bake your best friend’s favorite cookies. Treat your mom to a fancy lunch. Buy your significant other the book they’ve been dying to read. The fact that they’re not expecting it will just make it extra exciting and special.
9. Become the queen of charity by organizing a volunteer day
Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” So if you’re unhappy with the state of things around you, it’s time to take action! Still, we totally get how intimidating this can be. Instead of tackling all the world’s problems solo, consider organizing a day of volunteering! Volunteer March is always an excellent resource to find organizations in your city that could use your help. Once you know who you want to help, extend the invitation to help do good. I recently helped volunteer to paint a middle school cafeteria with a few of my friends and we had such a fun time, our day of work flew by. Having a volunteer day will boost your own morale and help out a group in need.