Hey Happy Addict!
We actually have a word to describe us as people that has the word kind in it. Until I sat down to write on kindness, a topic I really care about, I didn’t even notice – we are actually described as MANKIND. I take this as representative of men and women, but just for fairness sake, let’s bring a new word into our vocab to sit alongside it.
That’s right. Mankind and Womankind. If we consciously brought more kindness into our world, during happy times, during challenging times, during stressful times, and especially during times when we least want to but probably need it the most. During this more intense period in your life where you are planning something so meaningful and special as your Wedding, there is no better time.
1) BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Living in a state of kind just feels like joy. Being sweet to yourself is palpable – you feel it and the world feels it. And mostly, it just feels so good. Yet for the most part we are totally hard on ourselves, very rarely stopping to offer the kindness we would so readily give to others.
Think of times a dear friend or a child came to you upset about something – perhaps something they felt bad about or regretted. Was your response laced in kindness when they were suffering, or did you attempt to make them feel worse instead? I’m guessing you wanted to make them feel better, spoke gently and softly, pointed out their great qualities and pointed out as many bright sides as possible.
But to ourselves we can be so harsh, beating ourselves up for not being “perfect” in each and every moment. The opposite to kindness to ourselves can literally sap our energy, lower our immune system and generally weaken us – we wouldn’t wish this on someone we love, so why wish it on ourselves?
We can become what we think about – so today make a conscious effort to think kindly towards yourself – each time you go to berate or criticize yourself, instead stop and think what you would say to a child who came to you with the same upset? I have a feeling kindness would be your go to…. please also give that to yourself throughout all your daily activities.
2) BE KIND TO OTHERS
This can be the easiest and hardest of all the types of kindness. Easy because we often will extend kindness to others before we will to ourselves, and because at the heart of us, I believe most of us want to be kind. And the double gift is that kindness to others returns right back to us in the most awesome way – it’s hard not to feel on top of the world when you have done something from your heart with no agenda that offers the warm hand of kindness towards another human being.
The hard part about being kind to another is that sometimes when people most need your kindness, it’s the last thing you feel like extending. But often this is when they need it the most. We focus here at Zen Bride on reducing stress around planning your Wedding, and these principles are definitely useful during this time when people will irritate you just that little bit more, but they also apply to each and every day of our lives.
If someone does irritate, meddle a little too much, complain, say hurtful things or is just plain angry or upset – you have the option to match their emotions and go toe to toe (like get angry right back), OR you can surprise and disarm them with kindness. Often people have challenging things going on in their lives we either don’t know anything about or don’t realise the impact. It can cause them to be picky, mean or cranky. Kindness is like water to fire and can totally tke the heat out of a prickly situation at home or work – you can’t put out the flames by adding more flames and people are often genuinely shocked when you meet them with kindness in these moments.
Challenging or easy, extending the warm hand of kindness when people least expect it or when they need it most can literally bring the happiest of tears to your eyes and the warmest of warm to your heart. It is an unbeatable spectacular feeling for everyone it touches and is the best thing to do in almost every situation. Things may not go as you hoped, but you’ll never regret kindness more than fighting fire with fire.
3) BE KIND TO YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Kindness is something you can extend to your world, the environment, animals, the places you love to visit, the choices you make on a daily basis. Every small step that has kindness as it’s backbone adds up to huge positive impacts. Don’t make it hard or stressful, just be and do your best – leave your beautiful spot on the beach rubbish free when you go home, recycle or re-use whenever you can – not just rubbish, but all the items in your life that you no longer need. Who else could benefit or would love to own an item you no longer need? Sell, swap and giveaway. Give new life to things that would otherwise become landfill and instead let them continue to bring joy rather than cluttering your environment, or the environment in general.
Extending kindness to all parts of your world is a way to show gratitude to the beauty of our natural world and all the flora and fauna that inhabits it. For the sweetness of nature, for the water we drink, the sunshine we drink in, the air we breath, the forests, the beaches and beyond. When you really think about it, why would you want to be anything other than kind.
4) RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
I’ve left this as the fourth opportunity for kindness because you can really have some fun here. Random acts of kindness are incredible and so so simple. They come when least expected and bring such joy to you and the recipient.
This is a gorgeous type of kindness that you can tap into anytime with almost anyone – friend or stranger.
Have you had a bit of a rough time planning your wedding – surprise your partner with a note in their wallet telling them how much you love them and can’t wait to marry them.
Pop over with fresh flowers and coffee to your mum, mother in law, or bridesmaid etc for being such a champion supporter and organiser.
Bring chocolate for your team at work. Let someone in front of you at the grocery store line, comment on how beautiful a stranger looks, smile at people as you go about your day, hold the door for people, give people handwritten notes or cards to show your gratitude, bring someone a cup of tea in bed. Take your neighbours bin our when you take yours, leave a book you’ve enjoyed with a note in a coffee shop for the next reader, give someone loose change when they don’t quite have enough themselves when finishing a purchase in front of you.
You get the picture! Everyday and every moment presents you with the opportunity to come from a place of kindness and sprinkle gorgeous simple little random acts of it when people just don’t expect it. Sometimes you will plan for them, but mostly you don’t even need to think about it – just keep your eyes open to the opportunities all day long.
Little acts of kindness bring a smile and warmth like NOTHING else and they can actually change the world – and they will definitely change yours.
There you have it – four ideas for kindness that can totally change your mood, and even your life.
I feel such a sense of joy just writing about this topic and it reminds me of who I want to be more of. Kindness lifts your spirits and warms your heart in a way that is almost indescribable. Be KIND today and watch what happens.
Here’s to MANKIND and WOMANKIND.