"I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being. I'll put it before any of the things like courage or bravery or generosity or anything else. You can be a lovely person without brains, absolutely lovely. Kindness - that simple word. To be kind - it covers everything, to my mind. If you're kind that's it." Roald Dahl.
I do love an awareness day.
In my role as PR officer for a national charity, it would hinder my job considerably if I didn’t jump on awareness day band waggons – and that includes the serious ones and not just #nationalstationeryday (although any excuse to applaud a funky notepad is a celebration in my book. See what I did there!)
Today’s awareness day is a goodie. World Kindness Day - a day where people are encouraged to do kind things for each other, their family or friends, work colleagues or an even a stranger. Not forgetting the importance of being kind to ourselves too. That’s just as important.
When you look up the word 'kind' in the Oxford dictionary its definition is ‘having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature’.
Which, if we are honest with ourselves, are three pretty good characteristics that you would be proud to put on your Insta bio.
Reasons to be kind
The best thing about being 'kind' is that it can be reflective of who you are as a person. You don’t have to be a ray of sunshine 24:7. You can still be a bit grumpy on a Wednesday morning commute when the bus is late, its freezing cold and you wouldn’t like anything more than to be tucked back up in bed. You can still express opinions that disagrees with someone else’s as long as you do it with respect. You can have negative opinions on television adverts (don’t get me STARTED on the Haribo one). It’s ok to be annoyed at your other half for forgetting to pick up milk (ahem). It’s ok not to be 100% OK all the live long day.
It’s true. Trust me. Kindness doesn’t expect us all to be robots – it allows for interpretation.
Today – if I’m honest, in honour of World Kindness Day – I took my neighbours wheelie bin back up their drive after the bin men emptied it. It took 30 seconds out my life and it meant that it wasn’t covering their drive for when they got home.
It made me feel nice. As I carried on walking down the road to work I’m not ashamed to say I felt a little sense of 'go me!'
My cat was fast asleep at the bottom of my bed when I left for work this morning so (I am a bit ashamed to admit) I left the bed unmade because I didn’t want to disturb him as he looked so cosy and cute.
Most the time, being kind is just doing things that you normally do without thinking about it. It’s the things you do that mean you’re not an unnecessary unpleasant person.
The internet plays a funny old game when we consider 'kindnesses'. With some of the horrendous events that have happened in 2017 both here and over the pond, when we scroll through our Twitter feed, it’s understandable why some people don’t always feel like the world is a particularly 'kind' place anymore.
But for every 10 stories of the world being unkind, there are double, treble and quadruple of nice ones. Just look…
Happy birthday, Ollie
Scared of rabbits no more
The best thing about World Kindness Day for me as it’s something that everyone can get involved with. It’s making your colleague an unexpected cup of tea. It’s complimenting someone’s hair (or eyebrows – also very important). It’s asking someone how they are. It’s offering a seat to an old dude on the bus. It’s smiling at someone just because you can. It’s offering to help someone who is struggling, whether that’s to tie a shoelace or something greater.
It’s when you remind yourself that there are still good, honest, lovely, kind people out there.
Celebrating the good eggs
Groundwork recently hosted our inaugural Community Awards and the whole event was a celebration of local people doing good in their community and to give thanks to those who help their neighbours, friends, the elderly and children, those who are disadvantaged, disabled or individuals who are simply in need of a helping hand.
The night was a special reminder that people are kind and that there are remarkable local heroes making serious waves and doing some amazing things to improve the lives of others.
As a community charity, we know the positive difference that kindness can make to both individuals and whole communities and why it’s so important to keep paying it forward.
Our Young Community Leader of the Year award winner, Akeim, has spent his teenage and early adult years being a role model and activist to make his community a safer, happier place for young people in his community.
Our Best Community Group Contribution to Environmental Sustainability winner, Community Furniture Aid support disadvantaged local people by providing furniture and household items with over 800 public donations going to help people in need.
Our Community Leader of the Year nominee, Bab Protheroe has not let being blind or partially deaf stop her making a difference and has recently been named an 'inspiration' by her local newspaper for her work in helping blind and deaf young people in her local community, as well as volunteering at Girl Guides for the last 30 years.
They are just a few examples of how kindness can ultimately change lives.
So today, I’m going to follow in their footsteps by not only doing kind things, but remembering, and reminding where necessary, that kindness is contagious. And it can pave the way for making some small – yet oh so special – changes that can help us all.
Post by Stacey Aplin, PR and Communications Officer