Being kind doesn’t cost anything – and so does being helpful.
The goodness in the world resides in the simplest things, the kind strangers, and the people who go out of their way to be helpful.
And being helpful is easier than you think.
Using these 9 simple ways, you can make the world a better place for you and the people you love.
Let’s begin, shall we?
1) Listen attentively
The first – and perhaps the simplest – thing you can do to be helpful is to be a good listener.
When a friend is telling you a story, even if it’s something you’ve heard a hundred times before, it wouldn’t hurt to listen and show them you care.
Because when you give your full attention to someone when they’re talking, it can make them feel heard and valued.
It’s one of the simplest ways you can show them that to you, they matter – and it’s also a wonderful way to show them that you’re there to listen when they need you.
2) Make an effort to be there when they need you
It’s so easy to say, “I’m here when you need me.”
But even if it’s such a simple thing to do, so many of us still fail to do it – even for the people we love most.
That’s why one of the simplest ways to be helpful to others is to follow up on your promise that you’ll be there when they need you.
When a friend gets their heart broken, when your sibling needs a bit of financial help, and when a work colleague needs to switch shifts for an emergency thing, why not help if you can?
Sure, we all have busy lives, but taking a moment to check in on someone or offer your support during tough times can make a world of difference.
3) Show appreciation for the little things
As people, we’re so fascinated by grand gestures that we often forget to appreciate the small acts of kindness that others do for us.
But when you really take the time to be appreciative, you’ll see that everyone is capable of doing a good thing.
You’ll see that even strangers, sometimes, are willing to help you when you need it.
So whether it’s a friend who knows exactly how you like your coffee or your mother making an effort to give you a home cooked meal when you come home, never forget to say a simple thank you.
It doesn’t only make the other person feel good – it also helps make the world a better place when people see that their efforts, even the smallest ones, are appreciated.
4) Be gently honest
Personally, I myself have never been a believer of brutal honesty.
I noticed that often, people who are “brutally honest” are more interested in being brutal than being honest, which is why it’s never helpful.
So if you have to be honest, make sure you are gently honest.
When you give someone feedback or share your thoughts, do it in a way that’s kind and considerate.
So don’t be honest for the sake of hurting the other person’s feelings.
Be honest for the sake of their personal improvement, because we all know that all of us could use more understanding and compassion from the people around us.
5) Practice understanding and compassion
The best way to understand others is to put yourself in their shoes – to see the world the way they see it.
Because being helpful isn’t just about doing things; it’s also about feeling and showing empathy.
So when someone makes a mistake, don’t be so quick to judge them. Try to see where they’re coming from, because who knows?
Maybe all they need is some kindness to be a better person. We all have our ups and downs, and knowing that someone cares can make a world of difference.
So when someone makes a mistake, be sure not to take it too personally.
6) Don’t take things personally
Sometimes, people have bad days or moments when they’re not their best selves.
So if someone says or does something that feels hurtful, try not to take it to heart. It’s not always about you!
Taking things personally can only lead to unnecessary conflict and stress. Instead, give them the benefit of the doubt and remember that we all have our off days.
By not taking things too personally, you’ll certainly be more helpful.
And more than that, you will also be able to understand them better because you’re less focused on yourself and more on them and understanding where they’re coming from.
And remember – when you do try to help, always make sure the advice you give is solicited.
7) Offer constructive criticism – but only when asked
There’s no question that we all have room to grow – we just need a little guidance.
But you shouldn’t be quick to offer such guidance when you’re not even asked.
Make sure to only offer constructive criticism – with care and kindness, of course – but only when someone asks for it.
That’s because unsolicited criticism can often do more harm than good.
When you do give it, always choose to focus on their strengths, and then gently suggest areas where they could improve.
And when you communicate your feedback, make sure your intention to help is clear.
8) Be transparent with your intentions
When you’re trying to help someone, it’s important to be upfront about your intentions.
This is important especially when you’re helping someone with trust issues, even if that someone is a friend.
Because when you’re clear with your intentions, they can stop thinking that you have an ulterior, selfish motive behind your efforts.
It’s an assurance that you’re genuinely just there to help.
So when you’re helping someone, make sure to always let them know why you want to help and what you hope to achieve together.
That way, you’re able to build trust while also making sure that you’re offering help and advice that is warranted.
Because let’s be real: someone with unclear intentions can never be a positive role model.
9) Be a positive role model
Actions often speak louder than words, and one of the best ways to be helpful is by being a positive role model.
Show others that it doesn’t cost anything to be kind and understanding (but also make sure that your helpfulness doesn’t turn performative in the process).
Remember that you don’t have to be perfect – you simply have to lend a hand to people who need it, and you will be a role model that others can look up to.