Observing kindness all around you

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Week 2 of the kindness challenge was to notice kindness going on around you.

I’m a positive person so my mind is naturally wired to look for the good stuff anyway – but I was pleasantly surprised at just how much good stuff you see when you decide to focus on it. I noticed many small acts of kindness – offers of help, kind gestures and words of support; but one act sat deep within my heart.

As a therapeutic play worker I spend a large proportion of my day sorting out friendship issues – most of them involving teaching empathy and compromise.

This week I observed a group of children on the playground playing a game of cricket. One child was sat a little distance away from the group clearly upset. When I asked what was up, he said that he had missed his turn to bat and now the group had said he would have to wait until it came around again. As I was speaking to him, a few boys from the group came over (probably fearful they were going to be in trouble!) I explained to the boys what the child had said, noting how upset he clearly was and wondered if anyone could come up with a solution to the problem.

Three boys walked away instantly.

The rest stood silently.

Then one boy said that the upset child could take his place in the line and have his turn at batting. The child agreed, thanked the boy and the game resumed play.

This sounds great doesn’t it? But no big deal – it happens daily on playgrounds across the world, yes?

But what if I told you that this particular child, the one who gave up his turn, was a child that was regularly in trouble for fighting, found maintaining relationships difficult and had very little concept of compromise or empathy.

Later in the day, after praising the boy for his actions, I asked him what had prompted him to act in that way. He replied that he remembered a time when someone had helped him when he was upset and how it had changed his day for the better and even though he really wanted his turn he knew that it would help the other child have a happier day and it was the right thing to do.

He was right, it was the thing we encourage children to do – but the fact that he realised, without prompting, the impact his actions would have on the young mans happiness was astounding to me. Because I was the person who had helped him when he was upset, unsuccessfully I thought until now, to improve his behaviour and understanding this past 8 months.

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Kindness does change people – even if you have to spend a long time undoing learned behaviour first.

If you look for it, there is a lot of kindness going on around you. It’s easy to focus on the dramas at work, crisis in our lives and chaos in our world.

Take a moment to look, really notice kind the gestures that happen every day. Ignore the news, forgo reading the newspaper and enjoy the little things in your lives.

When you notice them, I hope they warm your heart, soften your words and increase your belief that people are fundamentally kind.

Sending kind vibes your way to see you through the week.

If you’ve felt inspired to join the challenge – check out Niki’s blog The Richness of a Simple Life for all the details.

Starting the day with kindness

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The Kindness Challenge – week 1

This week was all about starting the day with kindness – to yourself. In principle, I’m pretty good at self kindness; I get up early so I can have some time to write, exercise or just sit and enjoy the quiet.

However, I found initially, I was trying to ‘do’ kindness to myself. I felt the pressure to say something nice or think kind thoughts about myself – which was ridiculously hard. I had set my intentions a little high. So, after a couple of days of unsuccessful trying, I went back to the list I had written in my first post and decided to pick 1 and start from there.

I like affirmations and quotes but find them difficult to say out loud. So I spent some time finding quotes and adding them to some of my photographs – it was a great way to start my day.

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Later in the week I felt inspired to put together a display at work with the children, exploring being your own kind of beautiful and do some art journaling.

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After a few days, I decided to start someone else’s day with kindness – so every morning I sent one person a ‘Hope you have a good day‘ message. Everyone replied back with wishes of the same or a heartfelt ‘Thank you‘and I felt I had shared the love. It shows how by just adding one element of kindness into my day, I then felt inspired to do more and reach more people.

How do you show yourself kindness?

Can you find time to slot a little more into your day?

Can you afford not to?

My tip is to just start – add one moment of self kindness into your day. It’s not always easy, but allowing yourself some ‘me’ time will show your body and the people around you how important it is.

It’s so important to reflect, recharge and realise how important we are.

Next prompt is all about observing kindness around you – check back in a week to see how I got on.

Want to jump on board the kindness train?

Check out Niki’s blog –  The Richness of a Simple Life for all the details.

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The Kindness Challenge

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I’m always up for a challenge and this one seemed right up my sparkly, glitter sprinkled street!

I’m a firm believer that kindness is something we could all benefit from – both receiving and giving it. Too many people are only concerned with their lives and don’t see what’s going on around them.

Let’s be honest – we could all live in an egocentric world where it was all about us – that would be easy; do what we want, when we want every single day.

But real strength lies in putting others first sometimes, being kind without exception and doing things for no reward other than the smile it produces. I say strength, because not everyone has the skill.

A large part of my role is teaching children to have empathy. Some young people find it incredibly difficult to see things from another’s point of view, share or compromise. It’s a skill that has to be learned early on and some sadly, don’t get that chance. As a therapeutic worker, it’s my job to gently encourage and help them understand both their own, and other peoples’ feelings and strategies for getting along.

Doing things for others, increases our own happiness; it encourages gratitude and a positive outlook in life and helps us develop our values. These things all aid us in gaining a stronger sense of self – which in turn leads to confidence and great self esteem.

This challenge aims to focus on a different aspect of kindness each week.

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Week 1: Start your day with kindness

Here are a few ways I will be slipping a little kindness into my early morning routine:

  • Setting my intention for the day – keeping my mind focused on the positives, including my thoughts
  • Affirmations – just saying the words, “I am kind” out loud can help to change your thoughts and perspectives
  • Notice acts of kindness – train your mind to look for these moments
  • Plan to do 1 kind thing today; for myself or someone else – when you have a goal, you are more likely to succeed

I’ll write a post at the end of week documenting how I got on.

For now – I’ll leave you with one of my thoughts…

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Leave a shimmering trail of kindness wherever you go today.

I will.

Do you have anything nice to say?

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 “If you don’t have anything nice to say…don’t say anything at all”

I overheard someone berating a child on how to speak to others recently.

It is quite true actually. We shouldn’t speak unless it’s kind, ‘all things with love’ and all that.

But lately, I’m wondering about this.

I wonder what percentage of our thoughts and words about ourselves are positive?

I wonder how often we gravitate towards the ‘this will never happen’ thought rather than the ‘why would it not’?

I wonder how often we reprimand ourselves for something we didn’t do well instead of praising ourselves for a job well done?

I wonder how often we compare ourselves to someone prettier, cleverer, taller, slimmer rather than celebrating our uniqueness?

I wonder how much of our time is spent wishful thinking instead of practising gratitude for what we have?

I wonder when people pay us compliments, how often do we brush them off instead of a simple smile and ‘thank you’?

A clever lady once said, “You become your thoughts”.

If this is true – what are you becoming?

Start to notice your thoughts and whether they are mostly positive or negative.

Catch yourself speaking negatively about yourself (out loud or in your mind) and tell yourself ‘STOP’ then re-frame it into something positive.

You don’t have to think every thought that pops into your head.

 

Seven ways to bring a little positivity into work

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It’s one of those days where you are surrounded by colleagues who seem intent on letting you know just how bad their life is, whilst simultaneously consuming all the good vibes in the room.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a good listener and always have an ear available for someone who needs it. I’m talking about the people whose glass is never half full and always, always have a drama they need to tell you about!

If you’ve encountered these lovely folks at any time you know how exhausting, boring and down right annoying they can be. You might even find you become less like your cheerful self the more time you spend around them.

Firstly, remember everyone is on a journey. From time to time we all have stuff on our mind and in our lives and sometimes we have to accept it is what it is. Depending on how much time and energy this requires, our stores can become more depleted than usual.

“It’s not the trek that smothers our spirit but the toughness of the terrain”

I said that.

Secondly, instead of focusing on the negatives look for the positives. Search out ways to improve someone’s day and in turn it will lift your spirits.

Here’s seven ideas to introduce a little positivity in your workplace:

💛 Smile every time you greet someone – it’s contagious!

💛 Grab a drink for someone else whilst making yours – always appreciated

💛 Compliment someone on a job well done – even if it’s their job!

💛 Offer a listening ear to someone who you feel needs one

💛 Give someone your undivided attention over lunch

💛 Bring in goodies for your colleagues – anonymously is always fun!

💛 Put a motivational quote on the mirror in the ladies bathroom – guaranteed to be seen

Pick one that you could do this week.

Just one small change might be all you need to help someone (and yourself) smile a little more at work..

Be known for your positivity and sparkle. Leave a shimmering trail wherever you go.