Let’s face it. Our smartphone/social media culture makes it very, very easy for us to be negative. In fact, we are regularly encouraged to channel our inner troll in the name of likes and reactions. This is not to say that online life doesn’t make room for compassion. It’s just that the snarky side of things can be so tempting. After all, many of us will choose a slice of pizza over a salad, right? How then do we collectively re-discover the mutually beneficial power of loving kindness?
Why Do We Choose Negativity?
It’s not precisely that we want to be negative or mean. What lures us to the dark side is a desire to be right, understood and/or the need for approval and inclusion. A strategy to both ends involves putting down others as a way to boost ourselves and our egos. As a result, we begin reflexively seeking such situations. When they occur online, we get instant gratification through social media “reactions.” Each like or share or comment is like a hit of dopamine directly into our veins.
Unfortunately, the feeling is as shallow and temporary as the method. Off we soon go, seeking another hit at someone else’s expense. In reality, of course, it is at our own expense, too.
The Power of Loving Kindness
There are many ways to feel good about ourselves that don’t include competition, comparisons, and flame wars. These sorts of approaches create a more sustainable mindset as they are rooted and authentic. They may or may not deliver that immediate surge of power but rest assured, such moments are not fleeting.
Loving Kindness 8 Ways to Show it for Yourself and Others
1. Practice Self-Care for Loving Kindness
Remind yourself — every day — that you are worthy. Cultivate a steady sleep schedule, choose a healthy eating lifestyle, take part in exercise and activity on a daily basis, and develop stress management techniques to soothe your spirit.
2. Work on Your Communication Skills
Communication is a foundation of loving kindness. The work you put into your communication skills directly impacts your ability to show loving kindness to yourself and others.
3. Reevaluate Your Tech Usage
Step away from your cellphone. Reconnect to a deeper sense of you and begin dwelling more fully in your body/mind.
4. Learn How to Make an Apology or Express Regret
We all make mistakes but we don’t all make authentic apologies. Admit what you’ve done. Show remorse. Hold yourself accountable. Promise to do better. Do the work to make things right.
5. Pay Attention: Listen and Validate
The greatest gift we can give others is our full attention. Many times, the people in our lives don’t need us to “fix” anything for them. They just want to be heard and validated.
6. Develop Trust
Cynics equate kindness with enabling. This can be true on some occasions but when we learn how to safely trust, we’ll experience the true joy of giving.
7. Learn How to Forgive
Again, we all make mistakes. Forgive others when it is safe and appropriate. Forgive yourself and commit to self-improvement.
8. Living is Giving
Make giving a centerpiece in your daily life. You. Will. Never. Regret. It.
Could You Use a Loving Kindness Coach?
Let’s recap a little: Being a wise ass is as easy as a few clicks and it delivers instant reaction. On top of that, many folks see kindness as weakness and givers as “suckers.” In this kind of environment, it’s not unusual to feel stuck. Working with a therapist is an excellent way to unlock your hidden altruism. You may identify the habits that stop you from embracing loving kindness. From there, it becomes easier to make the changes necessary to build a foundation of generosity, compassion, and love.