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Increasing your capacity for kindness!

By Dr Marianne Trent, Clinical Psychologist

I read something today, which really connected with me. I really liked it. So, I thought I would share it with you. And it was a little statement that said:

“Kindness is just love with its work boots on!”

It's a bit wordy, isn't it? But, I really liked it because I just thought, you know what? Yeah. Kindness to people in our day-to-day lives and in our interactions with people professionally is so important. I think it's worth just giving it a little nod too. And thinking about where we could improve our kindness, where we could welcome kindness in from others. I know we can be really resistant, especially if we've been hurt, maybe not looked after by people in the past, either as adults or growing up. And it can make us really wary of accepting kindness from strangers, but also accepting kindness from people, from friends, from colleagues.

When you feel the need to say ‘no’ to kindness, just think about taking a little breath and just seeing if you can hear shark music….. Du-dum, du-dum. And then, just taking a moment to think, is this actually shark attack territory? Just taking a little look around. Or, might I be reacting to something that's happened in my past? In which case, it could be that you are reacting from a place of trauma and not from a place of being properly regulated. Properly online. You know those printers that used to go, offline, and used to constantly have the message, offline. And you're like, I have no idea how to get you back online. This is what we're talking about! Our central nervous systems can get all out of whack when we've been through grizzly things, and they can react to shark music when it's not actually there. So, kindness is so important, and it really helps us to re-regulate ourselves. Where could you welcome some of that in? Where could you send some out?

Yesterday was one of my best friend's birthdays, and of course with the COVID-19 situation we're not really getting together in the same way at the moment, and also, we don't live in the same city anymore. So, I sent her a little care parcel of things. When I was last with her having a brew, I was admiring her cup. She gave me a cup of herbal tea and I had some beautiful painting inside the cup. And I admired the cup. And she said,

"Oh, I know, I love it – I really want more cups with painting on the inside!"

So, I spent the last couple of months looking for cups for her. And I finally found some and sent her two with a little herbal tea advent calendar and some random beauty products and some chocolate. And yesterday she texts me and she said,

“you've actually made my day. This is my favourite present!” Because she's got a really grotty cold and she's got children and they were just all over her because they're not very well either. She's like, “this is totally what I need, it’s so kind!”

And so, from my position of kindness and actually “I don’t know what to get you! I don't know what to get you now you're 41!” Came great joy! And actually there is evidence to suggest that sometimes giving things away and doing things for others can make us happier, than if we spent that same amount of money on ourselves. That’s certainly been the case here.

So, how can you send kindness out? How can you welcome kindness in? If you find this useful, please do like, share, comment, connect, follow, share, connect, do all those good things.

If you need some help being kind to yourself or welcoming it in from others then do check out The Feel Better Academy here.


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