By Sara Picken-Brown
This week is #mentalhealthawareness week in the UK and the theme is ‘kindness’.Given the situation we are coping with globally, it’s a very fitting theme. Nothing like a global pandemic to bring out the gremlins of fear en-mass; blame, aggression, selfishness. All fear responses and behaviours that we have seen everywhere. From the parasitic fear-mongering by the media and politicians. To the organisations concerned with lining their own pockets, rather than supporting their workers meet basic survival needs. I believe it is timely to see this sacred and ancient concept being brought to the collective as a reminder.
Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Affection, gentleness, warmth, concern and care are words that are associated with kindness. While kindness has a connotations of naivety or weakness, that is not the case. Being kind often requires courage and strength and a decent dose of self-awareness and self-mastery.
Kindness is not the same as being ‘nice’, we can perform a ‘nice’ act for another person, but the key difference between the two is that kindness is rooted in empathy and acceptance
Being kind means removing all judgement and is founded on an intent that has no conditions attached. No matter where you direct the ‘kindness’, be it to yourself or others, the flavour or spirit in which it is extended comes from the heart and not the head.
Empathy is the ability to understand someone else’s situation, experience, feelings, and behaviours, and it’s a key foundation of kindness. Even if you don’t agree with someone’s choices or behaviours and you decide not to enable them going forward, you can still empathise with them. Kindness is about knowing and maintaining boundaries from a place of love.
One of the amazing aspects of kindness is that it creates a sense of belonging, understanding and reduces isolation. It also helps keep situational perspective, to know you are not alone, that there are others out there with struggles and challenges feeling just as you do. By sharing our stories and our support, we bridge the gaps of isolation and separation. What was ‘us and them’ becomes ‘we’.
Kindness does not cost anything it is the simple act of saying ‘hello’ to someone you have not spoken to in a while, picking up rubbish that you walk past, dropping by an elderly neighbour to see how they are (2m social distancing applies of course), inviting a friend to an online class we attend, dropping the judgement of others and ourselves and detoxing ourselves of negative thoughts when they creep up on us. It is the smallest attitudinal shifts that will make the biggest differences.
I believe we could all do with a little dose of kindness that right now. To shift from the grasping and hoarding, the primal-base-response-mechanisms we have been operating from (individually and globally) and shift to a higher more evolved way of conducting ourselves and supporting each other.
*Valetudo Virtual Studio is the online coaching platform for Valetudo Group. You can find yoga, pilates, fitness, nutrition classes and Coaching as well as luxury wellness retreats in Bali. Sara Picken-Brown in a London based holistic health expert who has been Coaching & running wellbeing events for over 20 years. She continues to share her passion for mental and physical wellbeing with you.
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