“Being human is a given. But keeping our humanity is a choice.” (Anonymous)

When millions connect online to share ideas and inspiration, it can be difficult to recognize the impact of our individual actions on the people in our lives. Yet these actions, no matter how small we view them, are what make us human.

Here are three fundamental ways of building and maintaining deep human connections in your life through your actions big and small.

Be Genuine

We’re humans – so when we feel vulnerable, we build walls. Learning to climb over these walls (by releasing self-doubt, not being afraid to smile or show that we care) is how we realize our full potential for friendship and humanity in life. Whether it’s sharing personal stories or showing off your natural talents, don’t hesitate to show others the real version of yourself.

Be Kind

Small acts of compassion are more powerful than the greatest of speeches. Don’t ever think that one thing you do is meaningless – a single instance of empathy or understanding can be enough to change another’s life for good. Towards friends and strangers alike, these individual moments are what connect us to the spirit of humanity.

Be Gracious

A powerfully simple way to grow in all your human connections is by remembering the golden rule. Be the stranger you would want to meet. Be the friend you would want to have. Be the family member you would want to rely on in tough times. While sometimes easier said than done, we can find great value in being quick to forgive others, and even quicker to throw our help and effort when someone else needs assistance.

Another important key towards developing our relationships is finding time to develop ourselves. While altruism and effortless generosity do make for a wonderful existence, we also have to find time occasionally to retreat from others and invest in our own wellbeing.