Kindness is an underrated trait – one which is so very important, and still regularly dismissed as making a person ‘weak’ or ‘a pushover’ because there are those who will take advantage of that kindness.
Kindness – the act of giving something of oneself for the benefit of another, however that manifests – is a beautiful thing to live by, and small acts of it can have an enormous impact on the day, if not life, of the person receiving it.
It’s also something that you need to put into practice towards yourself; kindness – and forgiveness – which encourages you to keep going when things are hard, praising yourself for the things you do well, forgiving yourself for mistakes and using them as a chance to learn, rather than punishing yourself.
The world has become something of a challenge for many people – anxiety and mental ill health are increasing, thanks to the pressures of a global pandemic, extremism, right wing politics and the strain on the economy – and it’s no surprise that people are tense and struggling to maintain a balance in their lives, with all of that to contend with.
Times like these show that kindness is more important than ever. False information runs rampant on social media and people are quick to judge and to throw blame or even anger at those who don’t share their views. Kindness is pushed aside as we see more people struggling – and that’s the time to take a step back, to take some deep breaths, and to think how you can react with kindness to the situation.
Sometimes that kindness needs to be for yourself – which means stepping away from the situation or people altogether and creating some boundaries which protect you from future harm.
Doing something nice – for yourself or for someone else – isn’t something which should require an awareness day, but when we are still in survival mode (because of a very frightening pandemic, for example…) we can lose track of the small ways we impact on others – so take a little time to do something nice. Anything. Big or small. It could be taking biscuits into the office, helping someone carry their shopping, buying a friend a coffee. It could be as simple as just smiling more and asking people how they are – giving them a few minutes of your time and attention when you’re usually too busy.
And above all else, do something nice for yourself – cook your favourite dinner, have a soak in a bubble bath, watch your favourite show, buy that jumper you’ve been eyeing up.
Whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to cost much, but it should make someone smile, and give a little pop of happiness which could turn around an entire day.
Being nice rubs off on people.