“In a world where you can be anything, be kind”  

These words resonate at this time. The current crisis has shown us the potential and power of kindness, in its ability to unite our nation, bring together local communities and strengthen our relationships with friends and family. These times have been tough, but acts of kindness, whatever they may be, are a saving grace, providing feelings of love, happiness and protection and the knowledge that you are never alone. Unsurprisingly, kindness was selected as the theme for Metal Health Awareness Week 2020. 

Whilst Mental Health Awareness Week has ended, the lessons learnt and the awareness raised about the importance of kindness in our everyday lives, is something that we can take forward into the future, into a society fuelled and filled with kindness and care. And wouldn’t that be a wonderful place to live?

Be kind to others 

I know that kindness is unquantifiable and cannot easily be defined. So many acts of kindness exist, from the random acts in daily life to those actions taken to help those you know and love. However, what is never forgotten is the feeling received from those benefiting from your kindness. 

From holding a door open for a stranger to writing a lockdown letter to a friend, kindness radiates through our society, as it does in communities around the world. No act of kindness goes unnoticed and can have the most wonderful benefits to all involved. No wonder they say, “it’s cool to be kind“. 

Above all, be kind to yourself 

Yet quite often it is those that display kindness in leaps and bounds to others, that sadly do not treat themselves with that same kindness. In putting other people’s happiness and health first, we can neglect our own physical and mental well-being. When our own health is challenged, the importance of being kind to ourselves then feels strange and somehow wrong. Here in lies a truth that can be hard to accept; you should be kind to yourself. 

This truth is easier to say than it is to live. Once too often I have found myself dwelling on personal negativity. Thoughts of doubt and insecurities are not uncommon but at times can become isolating and overwhelming. However, it’s at these moments when we should be kind to ourselves. Apply the same kindness and love you would show to others, if you knew how they were feeling. We all have our personal battles, and that is ok. Acknowledging and listening to our mental health is an act of self-kindness. 

The value of self-care should never be taken for granted. Self-care comes in many forms and is different for everybody. For some, finding time to read a book or watch a new TV show, is the equivalent in others, who find enjoyment from exercise (this unfortunately has never been me!) What is important is that you are allowing yourself time to look after you, no matter what that entails. 

Kindness has played strongly on my mind over the past week and recent events have highlighted inequalities and injustices within society. I believe kindness does have power and potential to create an equal society and to provide a bridge between communities. If we all take an active approach to incorporating kindness into our lives, both towards others and to ourselves, we hopefully will see the beginnings of much-needed change. 

With that in mind, I hope that in our shared world, we all choose kindness.  

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