I think, “Kindness changes lives” could become my new mantra. We all live busy lives. We have so much going on. There’s work, bills, health, the house, school, extra-curricular activities and a whole host of other responsibilities and things to keep us busy. Sometimes though it is important to pause, take a step back and really concentrate on what’s going on around you. It’s when we stop that we realise that we have the power to help others and ourselves, simply by sharing a little kindness.
As before, we’re all very busy people, that’s just the type of world we live in these days. We have so many digital tools and tricks to streamline what we do and save time and yet we seem to have less free time than ever. Has anyone else noticed that? I certainly have and it’s something that doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve been looking at mindfulness recently (I’m even taking a mindfulness diploma course) as well as some of the philosophy behind Buddhism and do you know what? I think I’ve been missing out. In the race to the end of the to-do list, the sprint towards a deadline, the fierce week-time home/family/work juggle I’ve lost some of the things that make me happy. One of these things is making other people happy.
I like to be happy, and I’m pretty sure others do too. Sometimes, however, happiness needs a little shove and I find that kindness is a great way to make someone smile, even if it simply makes someone feel better for a just little while. You see, while I have a lot going on, I have an enormous amount to be grateful and thankful for, and yet there are many out there, both home and abroad who don’t have the same light in their life. I’m working on myself to become more mindful in order to see and appreciate the light around me, while other live in grey and dark and really could use a helping hand.
For me, kindness is a selfless act that benefits someone else. It’s not about posting on Facebook that you’ve helped a charity out (unless of course, like I am today, you are trying to raise awareness). It’s not about making you feel good (although it’s a nice side-effect), it’s about taking a moment to consider others, to make a change and to take action in a positive way that will raise someone up somehow.
Kindness is everywhere, we just don’t see it all the time. There are a great many people doing kind things every day. I have decided to do the same. I’ve considered volunteering, however, don’t have the time so every day for the next month I am going to take time to do something that could be considered a kindness to someone else. They say it takes 28 days to create or learn a new habit so perhaps (hopefully), a kindness a day may be something I do every day moving on.
I will be donating to charity.
I might help someone with a task they are struggling with.
I will take time to ask someone how they are and really listen.
I will campaign for change.
I will smile at the embarrassed parent in the supermarket whose toddler is having a meltdown and say, “We’ve all been there, I promise, it does get better”.
I will support a local small business, even if it might seem easier to buy online.
I already consider myself to be a kind person. I already help people I see in need, however, kindness is an ever-filling bucket, it doesn’t run dry and anyone may dip into it whenever they like. I feel I could dip more often, and so I will. Will you?
This infographic from Oxfam offers a brilliant and visual way to recognise some people that really might benefit from a little kindness, and how.