In lockdown (or lockdown plus slight uplift in the UK) we might be concerned to be kind to others. According to your situation, you might be courteous to give others space when you are out and about, or shop for others, or keep in touch particularly with those in solo households, or put your all into providing for others as a keyworker. Valuable stuff. Well done.
It’s mental health awareness week. I like the emphasis on kindness. I have learned from experience that there is a relationship between kindness and happiness.
It is one of those strange words, kindness. We don’t use it every day. We know what it means and yet it is hard to define. I looked it up in the Oxford English Dictionary (as you do). It reveals it is the quality of being kind. (This made me chuckle so the search was in fact entirely worthwhile!)
There’s a place in an ancient book where it reads, ‘Let your kindness be evident to all’. The ancient book wasn’t written in English so some translations have instead ‘Let your gentleness be evident to all.’ That seems a fair definition. Gentleness.
Be kind. Be gentle. Learn to be kind to yourself. Be gentle towards yourself.
We are all living in unusual circumstances. We will have different pressures according to our situations but we haven’t experienced them before. We are learning how to cope. We are learning how to survive. Could we even learn how to thrive?
It is impossible to love others until we (hesitantly) love ourselves. I wonder if it is hard to be kind to others until we (hesitantly) practice kindness to ourselves.
What would being kind to you look like today?
Here’s a range of things, one of which may resonate with you: take time to listen to yourself perhaps writing down what you hear to reflect further; turn off the ‘other voices’ in social media and broadcast media to give yourself space, even a time of rest; do something you enjoy – dancing in the kitchen to your favourite track could be just the thing; immerse yourself in the natural world even for just five minutes.
Be kind to yourself. Then be kind to others. Don’t just survive, thrive.
This is Thoughtful Thursday on 21 May 2020.
Join Sara Shailer for a virtual session of mindfulness on zoom at 10.30 am on Monday 25 May (bank holiday in the UK). Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.