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Nov 20, 2017

How to Make Kindness a Habit This Holiday Season

As the year winds down, and as the holiday season rolls in, do you wish you could do something to have a better holiday this year?

There is something you personally can do to make it a better year end for yourself and others. Create a kind moment for someone, anyone, even yourself, through a purposeful act of kindness.

What do I mean by “purposeful act of kindness”? Why not a random act of kindness? Random acts of kindness, I believe, are innately within us. When we see a need, our compassionate side takes over and we feel the urge to respond. Purposeful acts, on the other hand, are a decision, a habit, a practice. Something you must decide to do beforehand. I like to say that you should put kindness on like you would your favorite pair of shoes. It’s a decision. And decisions made day after day turn into habits. And habits influence the way our lives turn out.

Kindness makes people feel accepted and safe. Isn’t that a worthwhile goal as we spend time with the people we care about during the holidays?

Where can you start? Here are 4 simple steps that will help you make kindness a habit in your life this holiday season.

Step 1: Be kind to yourself.

It’s hard to have the patience to be kind to others if we can’t even take the time to be kind to ourselves. When you are feeling low, wouldn’t you give just about anything for some kindness to be shown to you? It’s hard to show kindness to others when you haven’t been taking care of yourself and meeting your own emotional needs. Kindness starts with being kind to you.

Often, we are so wrapped up with feeling stressed and on edge and we haven’t taken care of ourselves that we can no longer see beyond our immediate emotions. And if you don’t see the need, you don’t have that nudge within you to act. The action of being kind starts with seeing what you can do. To get there, it helps if you are in a good place. I’m not saying that you can’t be kind if you have had a bad day, but it makes it harder and more challenging.

Step 2: Answer rudeness with kindness.

When someone is rude to you, the first thing you do is instantly react and not always in a positive way. And the second thing you do is say “It’s about me. They were nasty to me.” But it’s not about you, it’s about the emotion. By answering rudeness with kindness, you diffuse the situation and there’s also a certain satisfaction in seeing the change in the attitude of the person who was rude.

Step 3: Watch your delivery.

Often, people think kindness is about saying things you don’t mean, or telling everyone they are beautiful. This is not true! It’s about your tone of voice, your delivery, how you say things, even your presence. At times it just means going a bit slower to acknowledge those you meet during your day, which communicates respect. The tone that accompanies your words is as important as what you are saying.

Step 4: Praise it when you see it.

The more you practice searching out and acknowledging the kind deeds of others, the more you will recognize times in your own life where you can lend a hand. When you acknowledge the kind acts you see, that person will be encouraged to continue to spread kindness. Acknowledging kindness in others also will serve as a reminder to you about how you can show kindness.