What drives us to act mean? It's often something deeper than simply having a short temper, such as getting stuck in a negative feedback loop of thought and feeling that leads to more destructive behavior. This can be hard to break out of, but it is possible, and one of the most effective ways of doing so is through kindness.
Rather than succumbing to your negative thoughts, you can use kindness to activate a positive experience, which will be transformative for both yourself and those around you. You might feel like you're helpless in the face of negative feelings and thoughts but, by being kind to yourself and others, you can break the negative feedback loop and make yourself much happier.
The key is to recognize the role that kindness plays in breaking the cycle of negativity. When you feel mean, give yourself permission to pause and recognize what is happening in that moment. Consider how you might respond to the situation in a kinder way, rather than letting your negative emotions take over. Is there something small and thoughtful you could do to step away from the inner critic and show yourself some love? A few gentle acts of kindness can go a long way.
If thoughts of self-doubt or criticism enter your mind, ask if you would say the same thing to someone else. Would you be as judgmental or unkind if it were to come from another person? Most likely, you would be more understanding and compassionate. Therefore, be just as cautious and forgiving with yourself as you would be with others.
Be kind to those around you, too. There is a lot of power in hurting someone with words, but it's also incredibly easy to put a smile on their face. Showing support and understanding to your friends and family members can be highly beneficial to them, as well as to you. Small moments of connection are often the most fulfilling and meaningful. In the same way that you might need kindness on a bad day, everyone needs encouragement and thoughtfulness, especially during tough times.
If you make an effort to be kind both to yourself and to those around you, you have already broken the negative feedback loop and put yourself on a more positive track. Choose compassion over criticism, understanding over judgment, and communication over detachment.
Making an effort to be kind and considerate doesn't just make other people happier, but it will also make you happier in the long run. Your thoughtfulness and empathy will get stronger, and the benefits of your kind acts will be felt by all. As you open yourself up to kindness and understanding, your life, and the life of others, will be brighter. Be kind. It will not only make others happy, but it'll make you happier, too.