World Kindness Day | Remembrance Sunday 2016
World Kindness Day
Kindness is a world-wide currency and no matter where you live or who you are we all benefit from giving and receiving kindness; although it can cost nothing to give, it can be priceless to receive.
As the world seems to be facing more and more divides and challenges I believe that kindness is more important than ever. Today we are celebrating not only World Kindness Day but also Remembrance Sunday. It is nearly a century since the end of the 1st World War. As we pause and reflect on all that was done for us so that we can live a free and good life by a generation who are no longer with us, it doesn’t always feel as though we are making the best job of doing so; maybe it is time to introduce more kindness into our lives.
On Thursday, Fred, Liz and I were on our way to a Teachmeet in Newcastle. As we left Thirsk we were so lucky to be able to see a magnificent display of poppies at Thirsk Church. It was truly stunning but once we realised how this display had come together it added to its beauty even more. The display was organised by Thirsk Yarnbombers, with poppies being sent from as far afield as Portugal and Spain. People donated their time, effort and more than anything kindness to help create this magnificent memorial of over 40,000 knitted poppies!
Why not make kindness your currency of choice and do something for someone today, tomorrow and every day. Kindness does not have to cost anything; it can be as simple as a smile, holding the door for someone, sometimes giving your time to talk and really listen to someone is the biggest gift you can give. I love it when someone makes me a cup of tea!
"Why not make kindness your currency of choice and do something for someone today..."
There is another wonderful act of kindness which costs nothing! The gift of life to a stranger. Now you may be wondering “how do I give the gift of life to a stranger?” Do you realise that if you donate blood, which you can do every 3 months if you are male, and every 4 months if you are female, you will be SAVING lives! How awesome is that? It takes approximately half an hour to donate blood and each donation could save up to 3 people’s lives. In a year, you could save 12 lives (if you are male) for the sake of giving 2 hours of your time per year, or save 9 lives (if you are female) for giving 90 minutes of your time in a whole year. How good would that make you feel? Just imagine how the person who has received your life saving donation will feel! Immense gratitude (and that is another key virtue to living a happy life). It’s a wonderful act of kindness and, other than the time it takes to donate, it is free.
I would not be here if it wasn’t for this wonderful kind gift. I received 23 units of blood whilst going through my treatment. A shocking statistic: only 4% of UK adults who can give blood do give blood. That is so low! Over 25% of us will require a blood transfusion during our life. If you are interested in knowing more there are links are on my ‘Save a Life’ page.
Additionally, there are 37,000 adults and children around the world waiting for a matching donor to join the bone marrow register. I would not be alive today if it wasn’t for my donor, a 22 year old young man from Germany. He gave me something he can make again, but because of him my children still have their mum, and my husband has his wife. Again, if you would like to know more please take a look at the links on my ‘Save a Life’ page.
Whilst I completely endorse being kind to others, one of the key learnings I teach in primary schools to children (and teachers and parents) is about being kind to ourselves. When we are kind to ourselves it helps us to be kinder to others, we make better decisions regarding food and exercise and it helps us have stronger relationships. If we can’t love ourselves, how can we expect others to love us? It’s time to learn the art of nurturing ourselves. Kindness to ourselves helps us to value ourselves, to be our own friend, to be our own motivator to help us make better decisions and move forward in our lives in a way that we are happy with. But how do we be kind to ourselves?
Here are a few ideas!
1. Make time for the things you enjoy – all too often in today’s busy world we forget to plan in time for what we want to do, things that lift our spirits, relax us. Maybe a walk after an evening meal, a bubble bath, a date with your favourite film, a swim, a recreation activity such as baking.
2. Take time in the morning and evening to appreciate yourself.
Give yourself a hug!
Write a list of your strengths, of what you appreciate about yourself (perhaps being a good listener, having a love of animals, art or music, being a kind person, being honest and truthful, helpful, good at baking/crafts/sport etc). If you feel low, you can read and remind yourself of what a wonderful, unique person you are.
3. Be your own best friend – don’t beat yourself up with harsh words, think about how you would speak to your friends and treat yourself with the same respect, love and kindness. Be a kind and supportive friend to yourself.
4. Take a laughter break! Take time to watch a funny clip or an episode of a favourite sitcom or comedian……or just start laughing for no reason! Fred is a Laughter Yoga Leader and teaches people the art of laughing for no reason; it’s remarkable how much better you feel after a good laugh.
5. Remind yourself of why it is good to be kind to yourself. By reminding yourself of the benefits such as higher self-esteem, more inner happiness, peace and calm, more positive relationships with yourself and others and ultimately better outcomes in daily life in general, it becomes easier to stay kind to yourself through life’s ups and downs.
So on World Kindness Day why not make kindness your currency of choice and do something for someone today, tomorrow and every day.