"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."
- Mother Teresa
Not everyone we interact with is going to be pleasant. Some people choose to be mean-spirited or don't see any reason to be nice. Even our loved ones can mistreat us regardless of whether or not we give them reason to. Interacting with rude and inconsiderate people is part of life. While we cannot control who we interact with at times, we choose our attitude in every interaction. While living by the golden rule can feel like the right way to live, there are also so many benefits to treating others with kindness.
Being kind can increase happiness, boost our energy and help to reduce anxiety and depression, among other health benefits. There are so many great reasons to treat others with kindness, but benefitting our quality of life should be reason enough. Even when others may not give us any reason to be kind, we can resist feeling the need to mistreat them. We can take the high road. We can be the bigger person. We can choose to be mean or inconsiderate, but where does that get us? For how long does that feel good?
It is also important for us to be kind to ourselves. This should seem like a simple rule for us to follow, but there are so many people who talk down to themselves and become their own worst enemy through negative self-talk. Words are powerful. What we tell ourselves throughout the day is what shapes our self-identity. If we cannot even be kind to ourselves, why should we expect others to treat us with kindness. By showing ourselves more compassion and respect, we show others how we wish to be treated.
It does not take more energy to be nice than to be mean. It takes heart. Sometimes we neglect listening to our heart. When we feel the urge to mistreat others or ourselves, we are choosing to side with negative thoughts instead. For some people, it may require digging a little deeper to access the compassion and love that emanates from every heart. We each have the ability to be more kind to others and ourselves. The happiest people in the world do it every day.
Harvard Business Review: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Kindness at Work
Thrive Global: Why Should We Be Kind To Others?
Psychology Today: Be Kind to Yourself