4 Keys to Cultivating Kindness

While waiting to check out at the grocery store, I overheard the man in the line beside me talking to the person in front of him. “The world is so much meaner than it used to be,“ he said. Because I didn’t hear what was said prior to his comment, I don’t know the rest of the discussion, but his words made me think. There is truth in what he said. Kindness seems to have taken a back seat to criticism, impatience, anger, and impulsive words and actions. Is this shift away from kindness something we must accept, or can we do something to swing the pendulum in the other direction?

Following are some ways to promote kindness:

Avoid Gossip

I’m not sure what it is about human nature that makes us want to tell other people’s news, but most of us do it to some degree. Unfortunately, the information we receive and pass on isn’t always accurate.

If you’ve ever played the game where you sit in a circle, whisper a phrase to the person beside you, and pass it around the circle, you know when the last person says the phrase aloud, it rarely resembles the original. It’s the same with gossip, and the misinformation you state as fact is often hurtful in multiple ways to the subject of the story.

Strengthen kindness muscles by not listening to or spreading information that isn’t yours to share.

Tame Anger

We all experience anger at times, but that doesn’t mean we have to act on that emotion. For some, acting in anger is a habit. Others use anger to manipulate and control.

I knew a couple who regularly employed anger to intimidate, gain special favors, or avoid paying for services. That type of behavior seems to be even more prevalent in today’s world. But anger used as a weapon is detrimental in many ways and models the behavior for the next generation. Don’t be the one who wields anger for selfish gain or to wound others.

Speak Words of Encouragement

Increasingly, people think nothing of telling off strangers or service personnel. Controlling frustration, quelling anger, and practicing decorum seem to be a lost art, but they don’t have to be. We have the choice to follow current trends or act and speak differently. You have the option of making a positive impact on those around you by complimenting, saying encouraging words, and acting with kindness. You can be the exception to those who are angry, negative, and critical.

Model the Golden Rule

Did you learn “the golden rule” as a child? It’s simple: do to others as you want them to do to you. Yet, we often give in to the immediacy of emotions and behave in ways we’d never want others to respond to us. Modeling the golden rule requires self-discipline, forethought, and understanding the potential damage of your unkind words and deeds. Kindness stimulates forward motion, propelling you beyond the attitudes and actions of current cultural norms.

Ask God to help you cultivate kindness and behave and speak in ways that encourage others and promote peace.

“In everything you do, be careful to treat others in the same way you’d want them to treat you, for that is the essence of all the teaching of the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12 TPT).


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

To receive Candy’s blog, Forward Motion, via email, go to https://candyarrington.com/blog/ and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up.


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