Mental Health Awareness Week: Kindness
Pleasingly, mental health is taking more of a centre stage in recent months and I for one, hope that this interest and curiosity in it continues well into the future. The focus this week is on kindness.
For some, this may feel like a balancing act or indeed may come very naturally to others. I’ve spent some time engaging in the many helpful posts out there this week on the subject, however I’d like to firstly look at the definition before joining my voice with that of other professionals.
‘The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.’ Oxford Dictionary.
‘1. The quality or state of being kind. 2. An instance of kind behaviour.’ American Heritage.
‘1. the state or quality of being kind. 2. a kind act; favour. 3. kind behaviour, and 4. friendly feeling; liking.’ Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary.
So, we have: a quality, an instance, an action or behaviour and finally, a feeling.
It seems kindness can manifest in different forms. I think what strikes me about the definitions is their temporary nature; that essentially, they are one-off events within our control. So, what does it take to be kind?
- You have to enjoy the feeling of doing something ‘kind;’
- It needs to be associated with something positive in order to encourage you to continue to do it;
- You need to recognise if you are already predisposed to behaving kindly or whether it is something you need to work on;
- It takes an awareness that we are all flawed as well as an understanding that people are generally not very good at asking for help;
- It is the acknowledgement that our interactions affect people and they can affect them deeply- a passing comment can impact someone greatly and you may never know how much;
- It takes a toll on our resources, whether that is energy, commitment, financial input, time, or abilities; making my last point all the more important:
- You need to decide who you want to be kind to.
Many hundreds of suggestions will be presented to you this week about how to improve your kindness levels and I hope that they will prove inspirational for you. I’m choosing to not go down that route today.
I simply ask that you consider the above list and think about how to use your resources to the best of your ability, and encourage you to think about the final point: ‘You need to decide who you want to be kind to,’ and if that turns out to be yourself, then do please let me know how that impacts you in the coming days! It could be the best decision that you make this week.