Is kindness king? Setting intentions for how we treat others
Before Christmas and following a conversation about how kindness is one of the things that matters most in life, we each set ourselves a mini challenge of carrying out five specific acts of kindness over the festive period. They were:
1. To buy a coffee for the person standing in line behind us in the coffee shop
2. To leave an inspiring hand-written note for a stranger to find in a public place
3. To purchase extra items of food in a supermarket to donate to a food bank or animal shelter
4. To take time to compliment someone in a customer service role who’s been especially helpful or kind
5. Write a list of things we love most about our partner and give it to them
We must be honest here and admit that we didn’t manage to fulfil every item on the list. For instance, as our partners saw the social media posts explaining what we were planning, it felt a bit contrived to give them a list of the things we love most about them… but we will, when the time is right!
It’s perhaps no surprise that we all got more out of carrying out these small acts of kindness than the effort required to do so. But it was a great reminder that we should all actively be kind to one another, and to ourselves, more of the time.
Here are a few of the lovely things we experienced as a result of being consciously kind:
A joyous Tweet from a hairdresser in response to a complimentary review posted online
The huge smile on the face of a Big Issue seller when treated to a coffee
The deeply felt appreciation of a stranger who was hobbling on crutches in the rain when offered a lift home
'Kindness karma' when a traffic warden instructed his younger colleague NOT to generate a ticket for the car one of us accidentally parked in the wrong spot when rushing to pick up a prescription - sealed with a cheery ‘Merry Christmas’!
If we hadn’t had kindness front of mind and set an intention to carry out these acts of kindness, would we have done them? Possibly, but probably not every instance. Yet because we had set the intention to be kind to our fellow humans, we slowed down enough to see opportunities and we were repaid in spades.
So, as we start the New Year, we’ve decided that, along with setting goals for the year ahead, we’re going to set positive intentions for how we treat others and ourselves. After all, we’re convinced that kindness is king!