The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness.
Kindness always makes me think of this image below of a piece by the artist and profound thinker, Charlie Mackesy.
When we usually ask the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ We’re usually expecting a profession as an answer. ‘I want to be a [fairy/ footballer/ insert childhood dream job here]’. But this simple and beautiful response ‘Kind’ said the boy encompasses my hope for every single one of us. Whatever our studies or profession, my hope is that each of us are able to define ourselves as kind. Kind in our professional and personal lives. Kind in our community and kind to strangers.
Kindness is a professional attribute. If we’re kind to colleagues, we’re likely to build better professional relationships. If we’re kind to customers (or equivalent) we’re more likely to secure a deal, or get a good outcome. Whatever your world of work looks like, I promise it will be enriched by deliberate acts of kindness. The same will go with your household. We’ve spent a lot of time in our households recently, and we all know tensions can run high. But that act of kindness can be so profoundly appreciated, it can break through tension and restore calm.
So what does kindness look like practically? Well, it’s different for each of us. Some are choosing to be NHS volunteers, or befriend those in their community. Some are ringing someone who’s isolated, or sending a care package to someone who’s struggling. Some are making the household a cuppa when they put the kettle on for themself. Your act of kindness doesn’t need to be expensive, nor vast time or energy consuming. But if you have either money or time or energy to spare, perhaps these are things you want to use to be kind, and that’s ok too. Writing a letter, checking if neighbours need groceries – the ways in which our kindness look may have to be a little more socially distant or different, but we remain spoilt for choices.
I hope for each of you that you receive kindness and reap rewards in the many ways you offer them. I hope that you reap the reward of knowing you’ve done some good – that warm fuzzy feeling inside, that made you feel useful, and connected in a time when so many feel useless and disconnected. I also hope that when we each concentrate on one another, everyone’s needs are met. It reminds me of this very clever clip of the power of kindness:
So, today especially, but every day, I challenge you to seek and find a new way to be kind. What will you do?
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