Today we’re talking about choosing kindness. Let’s face it darlings, is it just me, or does the world seem to be going to hell in a handbasket? It was going in a crazy direction before COVID-19, now it just seems to have completely slipped into a proverbial rabbit hole. People killing each other, hating each other for no apparent reason other than they have a differing point of view, riots, children dying, and communities becoming an alien concept. How have we let it get to this? Why does it seem that attitudes such as kindness, compassion, and integrity are seemingly out of fashion in this pent-up pressure-cooker of a world we live in?
People spout about being kind in one breath, but in the next are not being kind. But what can we do about it? Can one solitary voice change the world?
Of course it can. Think of Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and even Greta Thunberg. Their words and actions have inspired others to take action.
As Gandhi himself said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Change has to start somewhere, so why not start with you right now?
Why we should choose kindness now
Newton’s 3rd law of motion states: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
Now, whether you think it’s Newton, karma, or even the universal law of cause and effect, if we want to make some changes in this world, we need to make sure that the reactions to our actions are good ones.
We are all born for a reason and we all have our part to play in the world. We may not achieve so-called ‘celebrity’ status, we may not be the richest person, but as American philanthropist, Danny Thomas said: “Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.”
Where do I start?
You start with action. Words are cheap, intentions are honourable, but it is only with an action you will see, and be the change you want to see. After all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as the proverb says!
But the biggest thing to remember is that kindness costs nothing, and the greatest gift you can give anyone is time. So let’s choose kindness.
It can start with a smile, a note, a simple thank you, or letting someone with fewer items than you cut in line at the supermarket.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Random acts of kindness
There are so many little things we can do to help each other and to make ourselves feel good on the inside. For some inspiration, check out the Action for Happiness calendars, which suggest acts of kindness you can do every day of the year.
Other random acts of kindness include:
- Popping a few extra items in your trolley at the supermarket and donating them to the local foodbank
- Saving your magazines and donating them to your doctor’s surgery or local shelter
- Donating your old clothes to a charity shop
- Being polite to everyone who performs a service for you, e.g., your cleaner, a parking attendant, the checkout person at the supermarket, etc.
… and my particular favourite, write inspiring, positive quotes on notecards and pop them in random places where you live, e.g., in random books in the library, at the coffee shop, in the public toilets, etc.
Pay it forward
Paying it forward essentially means that if someone does you a good deed, you return that favour by doing at least one good deed for someone else and then ask that person to do the same.
By paying it forward, kindness and good deeds can increase quickly.
So next time you choose kindness and do something nice for someone, ask them to pay it forward.
Time is the greatest gift you can give, and even in this busy world, we should be able to find half an hour somewhere to help out.
Obviously, volunteering during COVID-19 is slightly trickier, but not as you might think impossible. Some charities have initiated remote volunteering, so if you want to help out, then chances are you may be able to find something you can do.
My favourite one that I’ve found is the Kissing It Better initiative that aims to end the isolation of old age by bringing generations together.
Donate to/Fundraise for charity
You can’t watch an ad break on television without seeing a charity advert asking you to donate money. Charities do amazing work, whether it’s medical research or helping those less fortunate, each and every charity matters.
So why not pick your favourite charity and sign up for monthly donations. That way you are helping others.
If you’re feeling particularly brave embark on a fundraising challenge for your charity. It doesn’t have to be big, a coffee morning could be a start, although at the moment it would obviously have to be a virtual coffee morning.
Or you could do something bigger, if you chose, like me.
I reach a rather significant age in June and, inspired by Captain Tom, thought I’d like to do something for charity. So I am attempting to walk 500 miles before my birthday and raise funds for Versus Arthritis, which is a cause very close to my heart. My mum suffered for over 40 years with rheumatoid arthritis, so I know first-hand just how debilitating it can be.
If you need some tips on great charities to support we’ve listed some of our favourites here.
By taking it one day at a time, we can all make a difference.
So, let’s be the change we want to see in the world and be kind to each other. Choose kindness today.
Until next time darlings.