We all get into bad moods and can be jerks every once in a while, it’s inevitable. However, it’s important to remind ourselves the importance of kindness and the impact that your energy can have on others. John Pavlovitz, author of HOPE AND OTHER SUPERPOWERS, shares the path to kindness.
The path to a kinder world begins with kinder people—and the way we become those kinds of kind people (as with many of the truest truths of this life) is both startlingly simple and incredibly elusive: we try to live in such a way that we hurt people less. The Latin phrase primum non nocere is part of all health-care students’ education, serving as one of the unspoken core principles of those who go on to serve as doctors, nurses, and other caregivers. Roughly translated as “First do no harm,” it is the promise to protect a patient from undue injury, to do everything in your power toward that goal, and to avoid doing further damage to someone in the process of trying to save a life. I suppose if we were to commandeer and paraphrase these sentiments for the purposes of becoming the kind of people the world needs, and to craft a good rule of thumb regarding the hurting, heartbroken people crossing our paths every day, the pledge might be restated: Don’t be a jerk. It sounds elementary, and yet it’s actually a master’s level civility course, and too many people are skipping class and dropping out. So I’ll offer my notes here:
#1. Speak Love.
Offer kind words to as many people as you can: strangers, friends, social media acquaintances—and most of all, to the people close to you who you may have forgotten need them. Give compliments and encouragements freely.
#2. Smile at People.
In a world that has grown more acerbic and mean, the people you encounter are likely starving for simple warmth—and you can feed people without needing to say a word.
#3. Exercise Simple Decency.
Hold doors for people, offer to help them with their bags, let someone have the closer parking spot, overtip a server.
#4. Anticipate a Need and Fill It.
Keep your eyes open for people around you facing difficulty: a surgery, a layoff, life after losing a spouse, a tough exam schedule—and step into that space by doing something without needing them to ask.
Pick up a copy of HOPE AND OTHER SUPERPOWERS by John Pavlovitz for more advice on how you can be your own superhero!
For more on Tips on Life & Love: Be Your Own Superhero: How to Empower Yourself
Excerpted from Hope and Other Superpowers by John Pavlovitz. Copyright © 2018 by author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Photo by Luisa Azevedo on Unsplash.