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5 Ways to Bring Hope and Kindness to Our World

Making a difference one action at a time

As we listen to the news and grapple with our own daily lives, it can feel like our world is floundering and we’re too small to make a difference.

How can we invigorate the profound understanding that all of us – regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation -- have infinite worth?

How can we create actions, large and small, that lead toward repairing our broken world?

 Sharefaith from Pexels
Source: Sharefaith from Pexels

Two pathways toward honoring life’s infinite worth are mindfulness and strengths. Mindfulness practice builds our capacity for awareness of the present moment without judgment. Being aware of our character strengths and using them in positive ways can invigorate our well-being and support our efforts to repair our world, moving toward relationships, communities, and organizations that value human life.

Twenty-four character strengths have been identified by positive psychologists as gateways toward what’s right with people (Niemiec, 2018; Peterson & Seligman, 2004). Hope and kindness are two character strengths that can invigorate our awareness. Hope, or future-mindedness, involves expecting a good future and working to achieve it. Kindness is care, generosity, and compassion for others.

Making a Difference:

1. In his book Mindfulness for Beginners (2012), researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., explains that kindness and compassion are naturally part of us, but frequently not noticed in the agendas of our lives. He says these qualities can be developed by inviting feelings of kindness and compassion into our awareness.

Try a daily mindful moment of kindness and hope:

  • Pause and notice the flow of your breath (in-breath, out-breath) for a moment or two.
  • Ask yourself how you can generate an act of kindness or hope toward yourself or another person today.
  • Try it.
  • Repeat this daily mindful moment each day for a week.

2. Talk with other people about what the infinite worth of each person means to them. Discuss strategies to bring more kindness into the spaces you share – your workplace, community groups, families, friendships. Remember that we are all in this and include kindness and compassion toward yourself (Neff, 2011). Ask questions, explore ideas, and listen carefully.

3. Journal or reflect on one or more of these questions:

  • How do I feel when I am engaging in hope or kindness?
  • How can I experience more hope or be kinder toward myself?
  • How can I express hope or kindness in interactions with others?

4. Choose a meaningful statement or prompt to remind yourself of life’s infinite worth. Type or write the phrase and post it in a visible location where you’ll notice it frequently. Here are a few examples: “I make a difference.” “Each person makes a difference.” “I am enough.” “I am worthy and part of our interconnected world.” “You are filled with light, as am I.”

5. If you’re interested in learning more about your top character strengths, access the free VIA survey at www.viacharacter.org. It’s evidence-based and has been taken by over 7 million people throughout the world (Niemiec, 2018; Peterson & Seligman, 2004).

Each of us can make a difference one relationship at a time. Wherever we are and whatever we’re doing in our personal and professional lives, there are opportunities to recognize the infinite worth of others and ourselves. Even in the simplest ways, our intentions and actions can bring greater kindness and hope to our world.

**This post is for educational purposes only and should not substitute for psychotherapy with a qualified professional.

References

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2012). Mindfulness for beginners: Reclaiming the present moment – and your life. Boulder, CO: Sounds True.

Neff, K. (2011). Self-compassion: Stop beating yourself up and leave insecurity behind. New York, NY: William Morrow.

Niemiec, R. (2018). Character strengths interventions: A field guide for practitioners. Boston, MA: Hogrefe.

Peterson, C. & Seligman, E.P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

The VIA classification of character strengths and virtues. http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths/VIA-Classification

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