“How often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~ Leo Buscaglia
Every act of kindness, no matter how small, can have a huge impact. From a bunch of flowers to paying off someone’s debt. Kindness can change someone’s life. Listening to a friend or even listening to a stranger, going out of your way to help someone in need, a smile to a homeless person or a little drink or a meal. A neighbour in need of shopping or a cup of sugar or a friend miles away who needs a bar of chocolate and a chat. All these things and a lot more can make a great difference.
However we often find ourselves in a bubble, forgetting kindness exists and just cross over the road and pass by those in need, consumed by social media, technology in our hands and the busyness of life.
Kindness exists when we pause!
“Kindness is the language with deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ~ Mark Twain
“Ah, Kindness. What a simple way to tell another struggling soul that there is love to be found in the world.” ~ Alison Malee
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ~Aesop
The Ripple Effect.
One of the greatest impacts of kindness is the way it spreads. The pay-it-forward effect becomes automatic and the world gets a little bit brighter.
Recently my 7 year old son saw a homeless man on the street at Christmas time and he felt sad and said he wanted to get him a warm drink; so we found the nearest kiosk, bought him a hot chocolate and my 7 year old gave it to the man. The countenance on the guys face changed from sorrow and despair to overwhelming joy – someone had stopped and noticed him!
The effect on my son was probably greater than the impact on the man, however, because he talked about the guy and wondered if he was ok, if the drink had made a difference and if he would find somewhere warm to go for Christmas.
“Kindness is contagious. When people are kind to each other, a sort of alchemy flows between them. It’s a win-win because the person giving and the person receiving both enjoy a feel-good buzz. The receiver leaves the exchange more likely to want to ‘pay it forward’; to share the generosity to others. And so the magic spreads.” Breathe Magazine
Let is not pass by and ignore any more. More than ever we are becoming aware of others in need but the level needs to go up and up and up. We need to push through stereotyping, push past reputation and strive to be better at being human beings than doings.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
In my little world of a social media driven industry, disconnect and self promotion, it’s hard to see past the comparison at times. Media can drive us to over examine how good we are, how we fit into the world and whether we’re doing enough, earning enough, striving the best we can and outreaching our competitors.
At the start of this year, although I do want to do the best I can in the industry I am in, I promised myself to take the comparison and kick it to the curb, to look on others in my line of work and encourage them and not allow the little voice in the mind to dictate my feels towards them or myself.
We absolutely all have a place in this world and it’s time we started to encourage those who might be our competitors to keep doing their business. Their clients might need them and your clients need you. We are all individuals and we all have something unique and special to bring to the table.
So let’s look for the gold in each other and strive only to dig it out not dig on one another.
Kindness is a feeling.
“For many people, hearing a colleague say, “Thank you so much” in the hallway, or a manager telling you “Great job” after a presentation were a highlight of office life. Now, these seem like traditions from another lifetime. Without water cooler interactions, casual lunches, and coffee breaks with colleagues, we don’t have the same opportunities for social connection as before. Without them, it can be much harder to find joy in our work.” hbr.org
For someone like me who works alone, in my little office, sole trader, freelance designer and wife, mum to two boys, musician and general dogs body at times, there are very little times where these kinds of affirmations come around. Having seen at times, my self-esteem hit quite hard by the lack of encouragement, I have taken to finding other ways to lift up my spirits and to give my emotions a bit of a boost, and that is with KINDNESS.
Giving is always better than receiving, because by giving something physical we receive something emotional and healthy to our minds and souls.
Kindness is an action for sure, but it can also be something that is received into your inner person.
A Month of Kindness.
February 2022 I am setting out a challenge to give away more than I get, to give freebies and to give products away for free so that I can pay it forward, and the hope is that someone else will pick up the baton and pay it forward.
Pass on kindness.
“Throw kindness around like confetti.”