How to Boost Your Compassion: 20 Simple Acts of Kindness
When someone cuts you off in traffic, do you feel indignant?
If you’re like me, your answer was probably “yes.”
For many people, the first reaction in that situation is a negative one.
But given the state of affairs in the world, wouldn’t it be a good thing to put out a higher vibration?
To add good vibes where they’re needed?
To make the world a better place?
I’m sure you agree. But how does one do that?
I believe practicing compassion is one of the very best ways to do it.
We never know what challenges and hardships another person may be dealing with that might cause them to act in a way we don’t like.
My friend Teri told me this story about herself:
On a road trip, she pulled into a gas station and, on her way to the pump, was cut off by a big RV heading for the same pump.
Miffed, Teri drove to another pump, silently cursing the RV driver who had cut her off. By the time Teri went inside to pay, the RV driver, an older woman, was in line before her.
Teri, wanting to act on her anger, planned to give the woman a dirty look when she turned around. But when Teri heard what the woman said to the attendant, her world shifted:
The woman said, “Would you please pray for me? My husband and I were on vacation and he died. I barely know how to drive the RV or put gas in it to get home.”
Understandably, Teri’s indignation immediately transformed into compassion for the woman in the RV.
So, imagine that everyone has some story like that.
Some hidden pain that causes them to act in a way not to our liking.
They may not have stories as dramatic as the one Teri heard, but it may be something really big to them.
Giving people the benefit of the doubt is the first step towards practicing compassion. And practicing compassion is one of the best ways I know to make this world a better place.
Here are twenty ways to add compassion to your life, from the simple to the more complex:
- When you pass an accident or a road killed animal, say a prayer.
- Donate to charitable causes.
- Give a compliment.
- Share your umbrella.
- Refuse to participate in gossip. Say something kind instead.
- Say “please” and “thank you” on a regular basis.
- Look your server/cashier in the eye and thank them. Call them by name if they’re wearing a name tag.
- Write thank you notes.
- Send birthday cards.
- Change the toilet paper.
- Bring re-usable shopping bags to the grocery store.
- Let a passing car in before you.
- Let fellow shoppers ahead of you at the checkout.
- Contribute to a food drive.
- Tithe – give 10% of your income to causes that inspire you.
- Upset? Wait three days before you respond to that email or an unkind act.
- Pick up trash from Mother Earth. I always hike with a trash bag for that purpose.
- If you find an injured dog or cat, take it to the local animal shelter. They will get it the care it needs and attempt to find the owner.
- Invite someone to dinner. Native Americans teach that if you give someone a gift of food, be it making them a meal or buying them groceries, you extend their life.
Engaging in any of these acts of compassion will undoubtedly make you feel good, and certainly make the people on the receiving end feel good.
And isn’t that what we all want?
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” Dalai Lama
Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman” and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com