Random Acts of Kindness Boost Your Self-Esteem
Thursday, May 17 2018 Sam Woolfe
Random acts of kindness can boost your self-esteem. There's this widespread belief that you cannot love other people until you love yourself. To a certain extent, this is true, in that, when you care for yourself you are in the best position possible to care for others. However, you don't have to wait until your self-esteem is healthy to show kindness towards others. It's not that black-and-white. Your relationship with others is a mutual interplay. You work on yourself so that you can be there for others, and you show compassion towards others as a way to work on yourself. Therefore, when your self-esteem is low, it can really help to do random acts of kindness.
How Random Acts of Kindness Boost Self-Esteem
Random acts of kindness boost your self-esteem because they go against the notion that you aren't valuable. When you have low self-esteem, you may come to believe negative things about yourself that are untrue, distorted, exaggerated, black-and-white, and deeply harmful to your wellbeing. You may have this opinion that you are useless, a burden, worthless, incompetent, and of no value to anyone around you.
Random acts of kindness challenge this firmly-held notion of what you are like as a person. The truth of the matter is, no matter how low your self-esteem may be, there is still always the possibility of genuinely appreciating the interests and happiness of others. Of course, when your self-esteem hits rock bottom, it is difficult to express this compassion, especially when your negative opinion of yourself is projected onto others, including those who you deeply care about. But it is not impossible.
When you actively try to look out for others, be available for them, and do nice things for them, it allows you to see that you can provide value, meaning, joy, friendship, love, and positivity to the lives of others. You are never useless if you can simply be there for another person, completely yourself, enjoying the company and time together. We all have this capacity and manifesting this innate power of compassion – perhaps the most valuable quality we all share – and this is a reliable antidote to low self-esteem.
Random Acts of Kindness that Raise Self-Esteem
Compassion is like a muscle that is strengthened with regular activity. Try to make it a habit to do at least one kind thing every day – however small it may be – so that you can reflect at the end of the day and feel assured that you made someone's day a bit better. Here are some random acts of kindness that you can try out.
- Compliment someone. It could be anyone: your family or friends, your partner, a co-worker, an acquaintance, a cashier, or a complete stranger; it doesn't matter who it is. Telling someone something you like about him can really brighten his day. You could compliment him on what he's wearing, his new haircut, your favorite qualities about him, something he's done, something he plans to do; so forth and so on.
- Buy a thoughtful gift for someone you care about. You don't have to wait for a special occasion in order to show someone she matters immensely to you. Think about that person's likes, interests, hobbies, and passions, and if you randomly think of something or see something you know she would like or need, buy it as a surprise gift. It doesn't have to be anything big. It could be a dessert, a book, a sticker, etc. Thoughtful acts make you a thoughtful person, and it's a great way to help you feel better about yourself.
- If you see someone struggling, offer help in any way you can. People struggle in all different kinds of ways, but a lot of the time we tell ourselves it's none of our business and to keep our heads down. And this just isn't right. If someone is struggling with heavy bags, you could help carry them. If someone looks lost, ask if he needs directions. Talk to an elderly person if he seems lonely. Unfortunately, we tend to ignore those the most who are suffering the most. If you live in a big city, there may be people slee ping rough who you walk by a lot. You may have some warm clothes you could give them. Or see if there's any food from the supermarket they would like. Also, asking if you could sit down and chat with them can mean a lot, as loneliness and ostracization is a problem that afflicts many homeless people.
There is always time in the day to do a random act of kindness. It is important, however, to not beat yourself up if you feel like you're not being kind enough. We could always be kinder, but we can't expect ourselves to speak and act like the Dalai Lama all the time. Be understanding of yourself. If you planned to do one kind thing today and didn't, that's okay. What matters is that you are actively trying to think more compassionately and that you are doing your best – for the sake of others, and for your own sake.