Our Human Potential: 7 Ways to Promote Kindness

In today’s world, blaring headlines reach out to us constantly: “Bombing Ravages City,” “Earthquake Destroys Homes,” “Destruction Cripples Country.” News stations reveal stories of tragedy, pain and despair. In the wake of natural and manmade disasters, profiles on heroic figures emerge from the rubble like a bright light at the end of a tunnel.

Despite the crippling pain that follows disasters, these tales of those who immediately responded and brought aid to affected areas always reminds us we are capable of so much compassion. In these times, we realize a sad truth: it is through suffering that we unite. I wonder what would happen if we realized our human potential as caring and compassionate individuals instead of waiting for disaster to strike and prompt unity. Lucky for you and me, we have the ability to change the patterns and make unity the new-normal.

Here are a few tips on how to promote unity and kindness through small daily actions and mindful habits:

1. Send a smile one’s way

It’s the little things that count! Something as simple as a smile can make someone feel brighter. According to The Atlantic, smiling reduces stress and eases one’s mind. Smiling allows me to feel genuinely good and uplifted as I go through my day. I’m not saying you need to keep a permanent smile etched on your face 24/7, but making the effort to smile a few times a day will make a difference in your life and others. It’s simple: just smile!

2. If you see someone struggling, help them out

We’ve all been there. We make the bad decision of loading our arms with textbooks, papers and advertisements that are stuffed in our face as we walk through Turlington. Along the way, you silently pray someone will be there to open the doors because you definitely don’t have enough hands. So, next time you pass by someone who could use an extra hand, just offer one! Remind others that we are all capable of support and kindness in the smallest situations.

3. If you see a penny face down, flip it over for someone else

Ok, I know this one seems extremely silly, but it makes a difference! I credit this tip to Hilary Duff when she starred in Raise Your Voice (one of my favs). I find myself doing this whenever I find an “unlucky” penny. Even though it may not bring true good luck, finding a “lucky” penny could be the small moment that shifts someone’s day from going south to looking up.

4. Have an open mind

The key to establishing unity between individuals of varying backgrounds and opinions is to hear them out. One of the best qualities an individual can possess: being an avid listener who does not refute another’s claims, but instead, digests them. Even if you don’t agree, respect the individual and their views. In other words, treat others as you would like to be treated.

5. Donate your time

There are a million and one causes that are important and urgent. Research different volunteering opportunities that appeal to you and your values and dedicate some time to them. Organize drives for emergency situations, volunteer at the local animal shelter, or help fundraise for a worthy cause: any amount of time donated can change a life and encourages others to do the same. Let’s help each other out.

6. Voice your opinion, don’t force it on others

Your greatest ideas are those you form through experience and perspective. They serve as the building blocks of your morals and values. Although these characteristics are unique to you and may differ from those of others, don’t attempt to push your thoughts into someone else’s head. Stand true to the things that make you you and let others do the same.

7. Be compassionate

And to top everything off, be compassionate! This one is more of an overview of the previous tips. It may seem like the most obvious one, but oftentimes we, as individuals, forget that everyone goes through struggles and turmoil and sometimes the best thing we can offer is someone to talk to or lean on. I’m sure you’ve read plenty of articles on the importance of understanding our human potential, and you may be thinking to yourself: I get it. But, a reminder never hurts! 

Instead of waiting around for the next disaster to bring us together, let’s make it a habit to practice acts of kindness and unity every day. Who knows, you could start a chain of change that fosters human connection.