Today’s post isn’t long and its message is simple. We all have battles that we face, both internal personal battles and external battles that we may find ourselves in through no fault of our own…so do other people.
It’s easy to be consumed by the now and even the toxicity of the past, it’s much harder to smile on days when you don’t feel like smiling and even harder to push that smile into the world towards strangers.
However, in my experience it’s the light in the darkest of moments, the kindness that comes from people that don’t need to care that is truly special.
As the Christmas season approaches and we all become consumed by…well, consumerism, perhaps in this crazy world of 2020 that we all find ourselves in, the best gift we can give ourselves and those around us is a little extra kindness. It often doesn’t cost a lot and it doesn’t always get noticed but I truly believe the future of the world depends on it (that totally sounded like a marvel film intro)
As the last few weeks of 2020 past and we step into 2021 with a little more hope and a dollop of joy, please add a gallon of kindness to those who need it. You can never be sure who needs it, so aim for everyone. Let the car out of the side road if it’s safe to do so, let the man in a rush pass you by and don’t judge him – you don’t know why he is rushing. Kindness is checking on friends with a quick phone call and knocking on vulnerable neighbours doors to check if they need anything. Open doors and smile.
Smile when people give you eye contact, increase your manners (it’s something adults generally suck at), tell people you love them and give compliments like you’re PollyAnna. Over the years I’ve written a lot about this topic, gratitude and kindness truly matter and usually I write to remind myself.
So if nobody has told you today, your hair looks fab, I love that jumper and I’d like to thank you for dropping by, it’s means the world.
#kindness matters is my favourite hashtag. Simply because it does matter, many people think it’s overlooked and unappreciated but in my experience often people have remembered the smallest of actions years later.
I asked my seven year old son what stories he knew that were about kindness, he told me one about a prince and a goose and then about a king and a mango…well actually a lot of mangoes, the more he retold the story the more mangoes seemed to appear. To the point where he wasn’t sure why the story was about kindness? He walked away and I thought the conversation had ended, he then sat back down on the sofa next to me and said that kindness in real life was like whispers. ‘You can’t always see them, sometimes you can feel them – they feel like a tickle, but mostly they’re invisible’
He of course is right. True kindness that makes an impact isn’t about large gesture (or using his metaphor tsunami winds) but usually unthought moments of love. Holding a door; staying to help pack the chairs away, making a cup of tea, buying a gift because you’re reminded of that person rather than for an occasion, taking time to say hello, sharing crisps (something I’m not great at), the list is endless.
Who’s the kindest person you know? My advice, be more like them.
It’s often free and makes a huge impact on one individual, if the world was kinder we wouldn’t have so many people who are lonely, mental health figures would reduce and there would be less judgement…sign me up for that kind of world, it’ll take a few small actions from everybody…are you in?
I’ve often wondered how an egg shell can be fragile and crack with ease and at other times be solid enough to bring a baby bird safely into the world, apparently it’s all do with its thickness and shape. Designed to move around in the nest and not get squashed…Mother Nature is an awesome and a mighty force.
As humans we too have shells, you can’t see them but they are present. Some are wrapped to protect people because they’ve experienced harm, they build solid walls around them and it can be hard to communicate with them, let alone create a meaningful relationship. Other are fragile, their shells break with ease and you can see the cracks in their smiles, in the way they walk, perhaps a lack of eye contact or through muffled conversation.
As April approaches I’d invite you to become more dynamic in your shell. In fact, I’d encourage you to have a walk in wardrobe of shells. Much like a hermit crab, we need different level of shells (boundaries) for different situations. Sometimes we need to opt for a thick wall to shield us from the world, solitude has its place, but at times we need to invite others in to share our shells, a large open space where we can mix with ease and light. Of course, we get to choose our shell and the level of shell needed for the interactions. On a day to day basis I would select a kinder egg shell. A thin layer of foil would keep the elements at bay, for those dearer to me (who I let in) we could share my chocolate layer and I’d save the joy (the toy) for myself.
Sometimes we all, much like the hermit crab need to be brave – we need to leave our shells to grow. Bare and exposed we would step out of our comfort zones and this is where we would need to be kind and compassionate. If you see someone leaving their comfort shell, increase respect for them. If you see a kinder egg on the shelf, handle it with care and if it does become damaged, much like each other continue to love it despite its broken parts, after all we all have joy inside of us waiting to be recognised.