There have been so many things lacking in the last few years as we’ve gone through this Covid experience. Connection with others, being able to enjoy parties, events and generally being able to do what we want to. As I look back, I can remember the feeling of solidarity in the beginning and the shared lived experience we all went through. Seeing celebrities on Tik Tok talking about their isolation, clapping for the NHS, and reminders of our shared humanity was humbling.
Over this last year though some of those early feelings have gone. In the trauma world that I live in there’s been more focus on the loss and the negative impact of these two years. The increase in mental health issues across the board, but especially in our children and teenagers, has been devastating. We don’t of course know the long term impact these years will have but we have felt the current pressures.
For me personally I’ve experienced loss in many ways – the physical loss of my Mum just before the first lock down to name one. Followed by probably every area of loss you could think of. This is partly why I’ve not written a blog during this period as I’ve tried to process my own grief.
However, here we now are, and the thought on my mind right now is around kindness. It’s a word we use a lot – random acts of kindness for example but what does it really mean and how do we show it?
Here’s a definition of kindness I found online –
Kindness is the sincere and voluntary use of one’s time, talent, and resources to better the lives of others, one’s own life, and the world through genuine acts of love, compassion, generosity, and service. Moreover, kindness involves choice.
Another one I came across recently says this – Kindness is loaning your strength to someone else instead of reminding them of their weakness. (Andy Stanley).
I like that second quote as it’s easier to remember but also fits very nicely with those of us living or working with vulnerable children. We often are called upon to loan our strength to a young person for them to cope with something stressful in their life. I think of times with my children when I’ve had to bite my tongue, reach for compassion, and show them kindness by coming alongside them and helping them to carry their load, instead of constantly reminding them of their short comings.
So not only do we loan our strength to someone who is struggling around us but there are times when we need to find the strength to be kind to ourselves also. Over these last months there have been times when I’ve felt down about my life situation and have found it challenging to remain positive for my own children. Someone online said just today that when we feel bad about ourselves or our situations then we need to count our kindness. What they then went on to say was that at the end of each day why don’t we look back on the day and count the times we’ve been kind to others. When you feel down about yourself, but you recognise the times you’ve been kind, it makes you feel better about yourself.
So, today why don’t you count your kindness. Think of those times when you’ve loaned your strength to others. Or you may have smiled at a stranger, let another car out in traffic, given an extra 5 minutes to a child or listened to the distress of someone else. All acts of kindness.
I want to end today with a song. This is a lady I love called Philippa Hanna. She writes such brilliant songs and this one is about not knowing what others are going through in life. We must show kindness to those around us as we never know what they might be experiencing in life. We are all getting on with our lives – let’s loan our strength to others when we can, and when we can’t then someone loans their strength to us instead!!