If you have been following this Blog, you will know that one of the hashtags is #bekindtoyoutoo. So you will not be surprised that today we are thinking about kindness in all its forms. I’m reminded of a quote by the Dalai Lama: “Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible.”
We have heard in recent days of many acts of practical kindness by people of all ages, faiths, cultures and a range of other adjectives too many to mention. Our consciousness has been heightened about the vulnerability of certain groups of people; we have been mindful of the needs of our friends and families; we have perhaps found ways of supporting those who suddenly had a day job at home at the same time they are trying to adjust to the new role of ‘teacher’, ‘mentor’, and ‘nursery teacher’.
So today, the action is simple… Find a way today to be kind to someone else, and find a way today to be kind to you too! I had the delight yesterday of discovering a bag sitting on my door step. As I carefully opened it, being mindful that the exterior bag may be contaminated, I found a Note, a Card and a Gift. The note said – this has been sitting with your name on it since before COVID-19, so what’s inside will not need decontaminated! A beautiful gift – and a wonderful surprise, from someone passing by on an essential outing.
In the midst of all the acts of kindness you have done this week motivated by compassion, care, and a desire to help others, take time today to offer that same level of compassion and care to yourself. I wonder what difference that will make to your day: I know it will make a difference to your personal resilience.
The thing about behaviour is that by its nature it is largely visible – it is the part of us that others see. Behaviour can be observed at many levels. Last night we saw country-wide behaviour. Thousands of people standing at their windows or doors clapping their hands to applaud the people who are working tirelessly for us all on the front line. If someone had landed from another planet at 8pm last night I wonder what they would have made of this community and its behaviour!
Today I want to think more about a smaller dimension of behaviour – Yours. If I had been videoing you all week what would be the behaviours I would have observed with regard to your interactions with others, and what would I had made of them? Perhaps I would have noticed behaviours driven by compassion, helplessness, joy, fear, frustration, humour, anger, love. Are there others you would add? If you think about it most of our outward behaviours are driven by our feelings or our values.
In these times of high demand for your behaviours to be focussed and impactful, it is also important to think about the focus and impact of your behaviour with regard to your own well-being. It is hard right now to get the balance right between what we need to deliver for others; and what we need to preserve in, and for, ourselves in order to serve others well at this time. So I encourage you to do at least one thing today – even if it is for a very short time – which will ensure you remain resilient for all you plan to do throughout the rest of the day, or which will re-energise depleted reserves so you can continue to make impact tomorrow. Perhaps you can encourage others by sharing what that one things will be.