1. The ability to make someone you love see themselves as you see them.
This will be a great challenge, but try as hard as you can. Let them know how truly special they are to you. Let them see it in your face and in your mannerisms and in your voice and in your eyes. Look at them in the eye and tell them how much they mean to you.
2. Your time.
It’s so precious, and it’s rarely given out willingly. Every one of us is being pulled in a hundred different directions a hundred times a day. So one of the best things you can do for someone you care about is to give them your time, with no qualms about it. Do not worry what you could be doing instead or what still needs to get done. Spend a decent amount of carefree, relaxed, uninterrupted time with someone that is important to you.
3. Your honest opinion.
As long as it’s helpful and genuine and coming from a good place. Don’t tell someone exactly what they want to hear just because you’re too lazy or uncomfortable to tell them the truth. When there’s something someone needs to know, and you can tell them without totally crushing their spirit, tell them. Give them the gift of the truth. Tell them what they need to hear.
4. Your full attention.
No cell phones involved. No computers. No iPads. No staring at a television screen if you’re in a restaurant. No worrying about work or going to the gym or your to-do list or who’s doing what. Just allow yourself the chance to relax and enjoy 100% of the company of the person your sitting next to or across the table from or laying in bed with.
5. Your vulnerability.
Let someone see you for who you truly are. Be yourself. Share some of your weaknesses and worst moments and most embarrassing stories. Give them the strength and the inspiration to be the same way.
6. Your connections.
Give them to the friend who is feeling low and really needs a job and needs your help. Maybe it won’t do anything, or maybe introducing this person to that person will get them the “in” at the company who would have otherwise overlooked their resume that was nestled in a stack of hundreds of others.
7. An honest and heartfelt thank-you.
To someone who often gets overlooked. Pay attention to someone who’s always doing things for other people. Stop for a moment, look away from whatever is distracting you from the present moment, and thank them. Let them know how appreciated they are. Let them know that you’ve noticed, and you’re grateful for them.
8. A compliment to someone random.
A coworker or a maintenance guy in your office building or the gas station attendee. Give them a compliment for no reason at all. It can be short, but you can still make it a real, genuine one. If you like their shirt, tell them that blue looks good on them. If you enjoy that first sip of coffee, tell the barista that they make a damn good cup of coffee.
9. The recommendation of a wonderful and life-changing book.
Or just a very lovely and enjoyable one, even if it’s not a book that will change your life or your mind. Just pick a book that you loved or that made you smile or that affected you in some way, and tell someone to read it.
10. Soothing words.
To someone who’s not quite feeling like themselves. You don’t have to fix their problems or lie. You don’t have to give them an impressive, long-winded speech. Just give them some comforting words that they can hold onto in some of the darker moments of their day.
Because everybody screws up. And there’s some part of you, whether you realize it or not, that’s holding a grudge against someone that’s wronged you. Do yourself a favor and let it go. Forgive them, even if you don’t even talk to them anymore. Just release what you’ve been holding in and watch how much better you feel afterwards. Do it for them, and for yourself.
Give as much of it as you can. To as many people as you can. It costs you nothing and it means the world to everyone else. You have no idea how beneficial it can be to someone, especially during a hard time. Just tell them they can do it, whatever it is. If they work hard enough, they will get through whatever is challenging them. Even if they don’t succeed, they will get better because of it. Encouragement takes nothing away from you and it gives everything to someone else.
13. Your understanding.
Give it to someone who has screwed up or who nobody can figure out or who people find annoying. Try to listen to them for a little while and understand why they are the way that they are. Try to figure out why nobody else understands them, and why they’re probably just a little misunderstood. You probably won’t change their life, but at the same time, having one person sit down and look you in the eye and treat you like a human being can make all the difference when you’re feeling alone or isolated or different or down on your luck.
14. A pat on the back.
To someone who has done a good job. To someone that no one ever recognizes or appreciates. It can be metaphorical or physical or both. Just let them know that they’re not invisible. You’ll barely think about it afterwards, but it can change their whole day.
15. A conversation where you focus it entirely on the other person.
Don’t bring it back to yourself. Don’t wait for them to finish so you can start talking. Don’t relate something they say back to something you’ve experienced. It’s okay that you do this sometimes. We all do. It’s hard not to. It’s our way of trying to make that person see that we can relate to what they’re saying. But for once, just try and make the conversation all about them. Ask questions. Learn about them. Let them tell you what they’ve experienced and what they’ve been hurt by and what they’ve learned. You could learn something yourself. You never know.
16. A hand-written note, to someone you really, really care about.
Explaining to them why you think they’re so great and why they’ve made a difference in their life. They will treasure it forever.
17. A SnapChat of you making the ugliest face you’ve ever made, with as many chins as possible.
Send it to your best friend. And make it a 10-seconder, not a 3-seconder. Let them have this beautiful, beautiful screenshot forever.
To someone who is feeling low and needs a boost. It probably won’t last very long, but there’s always a chance it will at least help them get through the day. But don’t give them just a quick, passing compliment. Explain to them why you enjoy being around them and what it is about their personality that you admire. Tell them why they are so lovely.
19. Good karma.
Do something kind for a stranger or a loved one or anybody in between, and expect nothing in return. Then offer up that good karma into the world. Even if you don’t believe in this kind of thing, put that good energy out there anyway. At the very least, you’ll walk with a spring in your step for a little while. When you do something nice for someone else, you can’t help but feel a little happier because of it. Unless you’re Voldemort, this is pretty much the case for everybody.