People, Culture and Inclusion

Acts of Kindness.


Acts of Kindness.

As Mental Health Awareness week has progressed I’ve spent quite a lot of time thinking about kindness and how important it is to me. But it has also pulled me up short a couple of times and I have wondered if I really am as kind as I like to portray.

I’m not saying I’m actively unkind – that’s much further down the scale. But, if I’m honest, there are plenty of occasions when I don’t take the kindest action and I’m not always the first to reach out to help others. Deep breath, that felt quite hard to type. But maybe you feel the same too?

We have talked a lot, on this blog and in many other places this week, about why kindness is so amazing and such a force for positivity in the world – but is that at some kind of personal cost? Why is it that sometimes the kind action feels too much?

There are a whole host of reasons, and not always to do with the intrinsic “goodness” of the person involved. It is just as likely to be about the context that you find yourself in as to whether you have the capacity to show kindness in that moment. General factors such as your own physical and mental wellbeing, your confidence to step forward, the actions of your peer group, and simply how much time we have will all make a difference.

Essentially we make a calculation in our heads – balancing out the positive benefits to the other, with the detriments to ourselves and decide whether we have the emotional or practical capacity to offer help. This doesn’t make us a bad person. It makes us human. And maybe we are calculating in that moment that the kindest thing to do is for ourselves.

My learning from this week, therefore, is to challenge any bias in my thinking here, and question my motives: Am I taking the path of least resistance and not helping because its easier on me? Sometimes. Am I giving more of myself than is good for me? Sometimes. It’s not a paradox, both can be true, but untangling the balance between offering unconditional kindness to others and to myself is a work in progress.

I want to end today’s blog on a positive note with a video I came across while researching for this week, showing how random acts of kindness toward others can have an amazing impact. Mascara warning!

Juliet Flynn, Organisational and People Development Advisor

Thank you #KindnessMatters
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