Kindness, like a second skin

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Today is Nelson Mandela day and when my boyfriend told me about what him and his team are doing today- handing out sandwiches and soup to people in Cape Town- I started thinking what can I do today? 

Something that may help change the world for the better, no matter how small. You never know how your actions are going to affect others, but even something as simple as a smile or a kind word can turn someone’s entire day around. So today I have decided to write from my heart, with the hope that maybe it will inspire just one person or make someone read this post and think “Me too!”

I want to talk about kindness. We can get so caught up in our own lives, obsessing over things that aren’t even really such a big deal, that we can forget to be kind to people, kind to ourselves. We get so wrapped up in our own problems, that we forget the bigger picture. We need to be more kind. Not just to people around us, but also to ourselves, to animals, to the planet we are so lucky to call home.

Start your day with a grateful heart, for being alive and healthy. Whisper something kind to yourself and really mean it. We could all do with being a bit kinder to ourselves. Be thankful that you have a warm bed to get up from, because so many others don’t. When you eat your breakfast and wash with clean water, say thanks. These are privileges that not everyone has access to, and we take them for granted. We do. And that’s not all we take for granted. When was the last time you listened fully to the person speaking to you, the person who has chosen to share their feelings with you? Most of the time we are so preoccupied with our own problems, with staring at our phones and mindlessly scrolling through photos of other people’s lives, we barely even acknowledge that there is someone right there in front of us asking to be listened to. Be kind. Put down your phone when you’re with people. Do you really need to be on Facebook when there are actual humans around you?

It’s scary the way we think we can multitask like this and it’s not on. I am absolutely guilty of this and recently I’ve just been leaving my phone in the other room when I have company. It’s refreshing and rare. Remember the days before phones when we actually had to talk to people in real life about real issues, instead of reading them online? When you are having dinner tonight, whether it’s with your husband or your mum or even if it’s just you, leave your phone in a different room. Be kind to the moment by being in the moment. Look your wife in the eyes and enjoy the sensations and flavours of whatever it is you are blessed enough to be eating. Laugh. Compliment whoever is sitting with you and if you’re sitting by yourself, well then, darn well compliment yourself.  And if possible, choose to be kind to yourself and to the planet by only eating wholesome, plant-based foods.

Being kind and grateful isn’t hard. It’s actually the most simple thing in the world, but sometimes we just forget this. A smile costs nothing. Helping someone in need, whether it be by offering them some positive words when they’re feeling down, or by listening to them and giving them your full attention, will do wonders. We can start small, and eventually, hopefully, kindness will be like a second skin again. Something we’re enveloped in, something that fits as snugly as a favourite outfit, something that feels as good as the first rainfall after a drought of many months. At one point in time, I’m pretty sure we must have all been kind all the time, but somewhere along the way we got side-tracked, lazy, selfish. Well, I’m choosing to keep that second skin of kindness wrapped tightly around me. It feels good.

Today I choose kindness, and from everyday here on out. I choose to celebrate all the kind people in the world, and in doing so, strive to be as kind as them. There is always something more we can do to make the world a better place, but starting with growing kindness in your heart and choosing to wear it proudly every day is a good start. Smile at everyone today, and smile at yourself. It might even freak people out a bit because do strangers even smile at one another in this day and age?

Smile. Who cares if you get wrinkles. The kinder you are, the more your face will be like a map, full of lines connecting you to all the people around you. No-one can resist a bit of kindness. So what are you waiting for? Go be kind. Start with yourself and watch as it spreads. I hear it’s pretty contagious…

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Image by Patrice Murciano

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