Effects of choosing kindness

You have the choice to treat people however you like and sometimes that will depend on how much you care.

Small acts of kindness can allow you to escape your own mind for long enough to remember that we’ve all got stuff going on.

Without knowing it, sometimes the kindness of strangers can be enough to change someone’s mood or brighten their day.

It doesn’t have to be something big, it could be as small as making someone a drink or picking something up that you thought they’d like when you’re out shopping.

In order to do those things you have to get out of your head a little and pay attention to what’s around you. In some ways kindness is about not being bare minimum.

You do it because you want to, not because you have to.

The difference between helping and fixing

It’s easy to find yourself stuck between helping someone and fixing things for them.

When you help you teach and offer tools giving the other person a chance to grow, develop and learn to do things for themselves. When you fix things for people they’re likely to become reliant on others to do things for them because that is all they know.

Often when we see people we care about face challenging situations we lend a hand. You think you’re helping but what you’re really doing is fixing the problem for them. And so as time passes and the person faces more challenges they don’t know how to do things for themselves because they haven’t learnt how to overcome.

We do it because we care and we don’t want to see the people we care for suffer. But in doing so we forget that these people have strengths within themselves and that they are also capable of overcoming their own challenges.

And so the lesson lies in finding the balance between helping and fixing. I’ve learnt that support plays a significant and often overlooked role. To look the person you love in the eye and simply say ‘I’m here for you and I’ll support you through this’ may be more powerful and have longer lasting effects than fixing things for them.

‘Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’

 

Any volunteers?

*crowd remains silent*

What if you were the first to raise your hand instead of waiting for someone else to go first?

Better yet what if you offered to help before anyone even asked?

It’s easy to follow the crowd and do just enough to be average.

But what if you decided to offer a little bit more?

It’s a very different experience when you decide to show up and care instead of just doing what’s required.

Knowing when to take a break

Sometimes bounce-back and sometimes give yourself time.

I dedicated a whole post to bouncebackability. It’s an important part of life and I believe that having the resilience to not let every little thing in life knock you about is useful.

But on the flip-side sometimes you just need a break. You need to eat good food, take a walk, relax, spend time alone, sleep, do something enjoyable, turn your phone off, sit in silence, take some deep breaths, get a massage or whatever it may be.

It’s not about wallowing but instead admitting ‘I’m going through something and I’m going to take care of myself’. Don’t be so quick to always bounce back to the point where you’re trying to bypass or ignore your feelings.

 

 

Anyone can get it

On how pent up energy comes out in unexpected ways.

Sometimes when a person over reacts it’s because they’ve got built up frustration or anger and this particular situation has been the breaking point.

All of a sudden you’re losing your cool over ‘spilt milk’ and sometimes in the moment you don’t even know why you’re so mad.

In hindsight you know that ‘spilt milk’ wasn’t worth shouting about but you did it anyway.

And to everyone around you, you just overreacted or lost your temper because they don’t know about everything that led to that moment.

It might even change how they are around you, because when you’re around anyone can get it and nobody wants to be anyone.

So if you care enough you might want to learn to address things in the moment instead of letting them fester.

That way your response to ‘spilt milk’ will be about the ‘spilt milk’ not because your colleague was rude, someone lied to you and that family member keeps asking you for money.

Taking the slower route

Why make something when you can just buy it?

Eggs, sugar, butter and flour are all you need to make a cake. Then maybe some vanilla essence, chocolate chips and a bit of frosting to make things a little more interesting.

It takes much more time to measure out and mix those ingredients than it does to pick a cake up from a bakery or supermarket.

But there’s something in taking the slower route.

There’s something in the process, the effort and the care of something made by hand.

It doesn’t compare to simply picking up something batch made in a factory with a bunch of ingredients that you’re likely to find in a daily mail article as being the cause of [insert disease here].

There’s something quite beautiful about being willing to take the slower route when making something because in doing that you’re saying I care enough to take the time.

And what’s even more special is when you share that thing you made with someone else.

 

 

 

 

Extending kindness

It’s easy to be kind if you’re willing to care.

Small acts of kindness can allow you to escape your own mind long enough to remember that we’ve all got stuff going on.

I’ve had days where the kindness of strangers has been enough to totally transform my day.

It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. It can be something as simple as saying  ‘Good morning’ or holding the door open for the person behind you.

It feels good when someone does it for you so don’t forget to do it for someone else.