My Journey into Conscious Kindness – Andrea Dean
19th September 2018
Six months ago, I committed to completing an act of kindness every day – consciously and thoughtfully.
I was facing a challenging time myself. My Mother’s dementia had progressed to a stage where she frequently didn’t recognize me. My role at work was very challenging as the business entered a period of high change – ‘work/life balance’ had turned into ‘work 24/7’. My travel itinerary was so crazy sometimes I wasn’t sure upon waking up in (yet another) hotel room quite where I was for a moment. I was feeling somewhat disconnected from myself and knew that the best way to help myself was to help others.
It started simply, and a bit randomly. A cake for a neighbour. A card for a friend. An email of acknowledgement for a colleague, just because I knew they could use a boost. Shovelling the snow for someone who had thrown their back out.
As I got into it, I found that I wanted to do more and started looking for new ways help – just to bring a smile to a face or help someone feel that somebody cared. If someone was counting out their change in the coffee lineup, I’d just reach over and tap my card to pay. Every time I went to the supermarket I picked up an item for the food bank. With my family, I put together gifts for our local women’s shelter. I volunteered my time too.
And over the last six months I’ve noticed that this has all had an affect on me – at first, I wasn’t sure what that was, but I think it comes down to this – when I wake up in the morning and my first thought is ‘how can I be kind today – and who can I help?’ it changed the way I viewed life. My own challenges are still there, of course, but they bother me less. It’s lifted me out of myself. I’m kinder to myself now, too.
In a world full of social media, political intrigue and the polarization of opinions, with newsfeeds that show us only ideas that we already espouse, and where it’s easy to destroy someone’s self-esteem namelessly and facelessly from thousands of miles away, the world needs more kindness.
It’s a fact that what we feel on the inside is what we project on the outside, so I’d ask you to try it. Try committing to a single act of kindness every day for 21 days. I guarantee you’ll be glad you did – and, who knows? It might become a lifelong habit.
Wouldn’t that be great?
Andrea Dean is founder and Director Bright Little Ideas Lt in Ontario, Canada.