I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness lately. Being kind to yourself, I would propose, is as important as being kind to others. If kindness is about generosity, behaving considerately or being friendly, it’s vital that, for our own well-being, we can demonstrate kindness-to-self as well as kindness-to-others.
However, consider the so-called “acts of kindness” that arguably contradict minimalist thinking. Feeling a bit low/stressed/bored? We buy ourselves a treat. Some people self-soothe with food. Others buy trinkets, make-up, accessories, shoes and so on, putting a strain on their budgets but receiving only a temporary ‘happiness fix’ in return. If, through our work, we already expend our life energy in exchange for money, we are essentially buying our way to ‘happiness’. The same applies to the little gifts we buy for others, essentially buying ‘stuff’ they wouldn’t choose for themselves and which they don’t need.
I would suggest that true acts of kindness can’t be purchased, albeit actions such as ‘paying it forward’ are compelling and I wouldn’t rule that out.
Today, I delivered a meal to a friend. Having made a huge pot of veggie biryani* yesterday evening, I had plenty to share and thought of this lady who’d be working in her bookshop and who wouldn’t necessarily be able to get away at lunchtime. She appreciated it; I had the pleasure of sharing with her.
How else can we demonstrate kindness?
Hold the door open for someone
Offer someone your seat
Share information, recipes, articles or news about something you know the recipient will appreciate
Walk someone’s dog
Pet-sit for a friend
Offer to babysit for free
Stop to chat to an elderly neighbour
Pick up litter
Surprise your partner by doing the chores before they come home
Help someone declutter
And what about kindness to self?
Plan some down-time
Take a walk
Put your phone/laptop/tablet away for a couple of hours
Have a nap
So, what will your act of kindness be? I’d love to know your ideas.
*check out The Happy Pear – delicious recipes!!