In the digital world, sometimes it’s hard to adhere to the “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” rule. Silly misunderstandings (what’s good, Taylor/Nicki?) and mean troll comments (like everyone who has ever dissed Chrissy Teigan) have become the norm, and that’s really sad. Seriously, count how many Brit + Co headlines include the phrase “haters,” and you’ll see that there seems to be a dearth of kindness these days.
One women decided to take that into her own hands and create a space dedicated to kindness online. Ashley Lauren Dickinson is the founder of KindaKind, a website that focuses on helping other people and yourself by living a kinder life. To Ashley, being kind goes beyond the golden rule. “Being kind is having an awareness of one’s own actions, for better and for worse,” she says. Through her website, she publishes articles, videos and events that have to do with making the world a nicer place. Here are some tips from her on how to be kinder every day.
1. Recognize humanity. Ashley says it’s important to “treat everyone like a human,” which sounds odd without context, but makes sense when you delve deeper. While it might be easy to write people off who you don’t know, Ashley’s point is that everyone is a human with a multifaceted story. Before you judge someone, consider that they are just as complex as you are.
2. A genuine “How was your day?” goes far. Think about it: How often have you told a stranger that you were doing “fine”? It’s a quick way to get out of a convo and works even when you’re feeling cruddy. Ashley wants to challenge people to “answer genuinely… acknowledge their presence and ask them the question back.” Taking a second to say something honest, even if it’s, “You know, I feel kinda off today. I’m hoping this coffee helps. How are you?” shows that you care about that interaction, and that you’re not just going through the motions.
3. Use your passion to help people. Especially with the holidays coming up, Ashley reminds people that “giving back shouldn’t be a chore. Don’t reserve ‘giving back’ for special occasions and do something you think sucks.” She encourages you to find out what you’re good at or passionate about and “put it to its purpose.” Do you love art? Look for opportunities to teach underprivileged kids how to paint. Are you a budding photographer? Take pictures to highlight issues that need attention in your neighborhood. Whatever you do, Ashley says, “no matter what your passion is, there are ways to use it to make a difference and a positive impact on the world.”
4. Be kind to yourself. Kinda Kind features a lot of varied content, including beauty tutorials. Ashley says she includes stuff like this because “we’ve all had bad days, and sometimes you just need to be kind to yourself.” Taking a second out of your day to reconnect with your body and mind will make you feel better inside and out and more willing to spread that love.
5. Remember that kindness doesn’t equal weakness. Our culture sometimes tells people (especially women) that being nice means you’re simple or a pushover. Kinda Kind uses the slogan “Kindness is badass” as a way to combat that notion. “Being kind is courageous. The power of kindness is immeasurable, and to me, that’s badass!”
What’s one kind thing you did recently? Brag about it here and then go do another good deed!
(Photos via Stuart Schuffman and Huy Doan)