It’s #WellbeingWednesday again and of course we have to have kindness for K week! When you were a child, you probably learned some variation of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This rule exists in various forms throughout the world across most cultures and in every major religion. That makes it seem mighty important. And indeed it is if we want to live in a civilized, humane society.
Beyond that, and the vague hope that other people will be kind to you if you’re kind to them, what do YOU get out of it? Is there any personal reward for being kind, or is it just one of those things you should do regardless?
My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.Dalai Lama
Showing Kindness is Rewarding
It turns out that kindness does have some direct benefits on the giver. First of all, it lifts your self-esteem. That’s right -being kind to another person makes you like yourself more. Helping someone else makes you feel better about yourself.
The strength of this effect varies based on the nature of the act -giving money on a donation form has less effect than giving it in person or helping someone directly -but both enhance self-esteem. What other forms of kindness have this effect?
Random Acts of Kindness
Pretty much anything you can think of. Sending a card or a meal to a sick friend. Giving a kind word to someone having a bad day. Buying a bouquet of flowers and handing them out to random strangers. All of these are kind acts that benefit both you and other people.
This enhancement is long-lasting as well, with the benefit lasting from a few hours to a full day. Again, it depends on the nature of the kindness and the personality of the person involved. Being kind to others regularly permanently improves your self-esteem and also makes you more empathetic, sympathetic, and caring in general.
Why does this happen? It appears that human brains are hard-wired to help others, and doing so causes the brain to release endorphins, the hormones responsible for making you feel good. That improves your self-esteem. It also raises your outlook on life in general. Both of these things make you happier.
It seems like following the Golden Rule is a good idea for many reasons. If you want to be happier, practice kindness. Do your best to be kind and helpful to other people and you’ll find yourself much happier.
Don’t forget to check out the previous posts in The A-Z of Wellbeing series. It would be very kind of you if you could like and share my content to help build the Wellbeing Wishes community 🤗