Try a Little Kindness
February 12, 2014
“Try A Little Kindness” is a cheery tune by Glen Campbell. I have quite a few of his track on my mp3 player (I have to admit to a fondness for John Denver too) and whenever it comes on I find myself singing along and feeling chipper.
I also like the idea behind the song. It might be a bit “cheesy” but the reality is that acts of kindness can make a huge difference. An act of kindness can often cost nothing but have value beyond measure; it doesn’t have to be a “grand gesture” – the simplest things can have an enormous impact.
There is a Facebook page doing the rounds at the moment – and I "like" it enormously. It is in response to the, now deadly, trend of NekNomination (words fail me about the stupidity of that trend and I'm not wasting any space about it here) but the great alternative trend is known as RAKnomination. RAK standing for Random Acts of Kindness.
As I said I like that – a lot. It’s amazing how just a little thought, or a small action can have a huge impact on someone. Whether they are family, or friends, or complete strangers – they can brighten the world, if only for a short while.
One of my RAKs is giving my parking ticket to fellow shoppers when I am leaving and I still have two hours left on it. Okay… it may only save someone a couple of pounds… but those two pounds could end up as another act of kindness perhaps in a charity collection box or used to buy a treat for someone who is having a bad day.
I managed an act of kindness today when, as a result of waterlogged land (the town in which I head for the day job is suffering from the flooding in the south west), one of our suppliers was able to get an order to me but was horribly delayed because of long detours due to road closures. He was behind schedule and concerned about getting everything to where it needed to be. He’s helped me out in the past by getting deliveries to me at the eleventh hour and so I asked what the problem was. He explained and it turned out that if I left the office ten minutes earlier and took a detour of about fifteen miles, I could help him out of his predicament. It was an obvious solution and one I was more than happy to suggest. His reaction? Genuine surprise that I would go out of my way and add an hour to my day just to help. To me it wasn’t a big deal at all. He had helped me out in the past. I could help him out now. Immediate problem solved.
A friend of mine was recently struggling with a really busy schedule trying to fit in work; school run; after-school-clubs; studying and the added pressure of making sure her dad (who is my neighbour and isn’t in the best of health right now) managed to get his weekly shopping done. Despite not being as nimble as he used to be, he does enjoy doing his own shopping (like me he wants to select his own fruit and vegetables or see if any of the special offers are tempting) but the walk to and from the store and the heavy bags are just a bit too much for him. I pointed out that whilst, once a week, I do a “big shop” (Peter Kay would be proud of my northern traits – we do also have a “big light” in our bedroom here at Hudson HQ), I usually need to nip into the supermarket mid-week to pick up milk and replenish the fruit bowl. I usually do this on the way home from work as the store is en route, but it is only ten minutes away from home and it takes very little extra effort for me to go and collect a passenger and doing our shopping together. We now have a weekly “date” during the quiet time in the supermarket (just after the school rush and before the commuters are heading home). After a day at my desk, a gentle stroll up and down the aisles and a catch up with my neighbour is actually of benefit to me it is a peaceful half an hour which also separates my “working day” from “my time”.
But …. Just as importantly – Don’t forget to be kind to yourself as well.
Sometimes we can be our own sternest critics and harshest reviewers. Whilst we are usually more than willing to offer encouragement or soothing words to others; whilst we make allowances or go out of our way to assist those around us, we aren’t naturally very good about applying the same consideration to ourselves.
One of the “changing habits” I am trying to make second nature is to stop my own critical self-talk. The number of times I think “how stupid are you”… or “you are such a fool”…. I would rarely think that about others and would certainly not verbalise it, yet I feel compelled to be unkind to myself. Whilst I have no problem at all taking time out to help others, I find myself trying (and often failing) to justify a soak in the bath or an early night with a good book… because it seems self indulgent and selfish.
Forgetting to be kind to myself covers everything from self-critical comments as I look in the mirror, to making myself feel terrible because I did have a couple of digestive biscuits (all logged but taking me a hundred calories over my daily allowance). It seems that whilst I would never knowingly be unkind to others, I have absolutely no difficulty in giving myself a thoroughly hard time. And in terms of my weight loss journey and all the associated issues with self image and self worth, I am beginning to realise that being kind to myself can make a huge difference in terms of success. It really can make the difference between a bad day and a good day. It is not something that comes naturally but it is something that I am trying hard to change… and I am sure I am not alone in needing to extend kindness to myself.
So as you wend your way through your weight loss… if you can, take the opportunity to try a little kindness – not just towards others, but to yourself as well.
With a mid-week hug