Random Acts of Kindness day is on February 17th and here at Westmeria we are privileged to witness how acts of kindness can impact someone and their everyday life.
Random Acts of Kindness began in 1993 when Anne Herbert scrawled on a napkin practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty and the day itself began in 1995, growing ever more significant since.
So, what does it mean? It means carrying out an act of kindness which leaves a positive impact, however small, and remembering to acknowledge you did that. You see, within therapy, clients can often come and tell you how terrible they are, how ‘bad’ they must be, how they do everything wrong. This blog is not only to highlight what acts of kindness can do to others, it’s to remind you that being kind to yourself is key.
It might be easier to be kind to others first, so let’s explore this – what can you do and what impact will it have? An act of kindness doesn’t have to be extravagant or obvious, what about a smile? What would it be like to hold a door open for someone, give them eye contact and smile when you do it? The thing with kindness is that it has a ripple effect. That person you smiled at might not consciously recognise how pleasant it was to be smiled at, but there is no doubt it will have an impact.
If you wish to offer further acts of kindness – go ahead! As the cartoonist Scott Adams noted, there is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. What if you can’t find someone who is kind to you? Then be that kind person yourself. It may not take away the stresses of your life, but it can start to build the evidence for why you’re a good person. That feels amazing right?
Often, the harder acts of kindness are towards ourselves. Sometimes it’s important to remember there will always be someone else watching – your partner, your child, any loved ones. What lesson do you teach them in not being kind to yourself? That you’re not worth it? Maybe then they’re not worth it…? Before you show kindness to others, in what ways can you show compassion, kindness and empathy for yourself? It may not solve everything, but it’s a lovely, and important, place to start.
In therapy one of the most important elements for change is unconditional positive regard. One of the ways in doing this for yourself is to accept yourself, all of you- your quirks, imperfections and frustrations too. We are human, and to be human means we can get it wrong. That’s OK, showing yourself kindness at these times will be more productive and rewarding than judgement can ever be.
So, on such a beautiful day, what would it be like to be kind to yourself? Just a little? After this, what would it be like to be kind to others, small acts, everyday. What is there to lose?
‘Kindness is igniting a light in someone else for no other reason than to watch them enjoy the glow’ – RAKtivist, www.randomactsofkindness.org)
written by Zoe, Westmeria counsellor