Small Acts Of Kindness – We Need More Of Them!

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
~ Mark Twain

 

Small acts of kindness ease our burdens. They remind us that we are loved and that there is still hope and goodness in the world.

Don’t ever underestimate the gift of small acts of kindness.  A simple phone call, a cuppa and a chat, a bunch of flowers from your garden, a casserole or a pot of soup, the loan of some books or DVDs – all of these simple gestures can make a vast difference in the life of someone who is busy coping with whatever life has just thrown them.

Anyone who has suffered from depression, ongoing family or relationship issues, the prolonged care of a loved one with a chronic or terminal illness, or who has suffered a loss or setback in life will tell you that support is often strong to start off with, but fades away, or worse – people begin to tell them to ‘think positive’, to ‘look on the bright side’, to ‘snap out of it’, ‘get over it’, ‘move on’ or equally unhelpful sentiments.

Some situations in life are over in an instant but leave a lasting impact.  Some situations take a very long time to resolve. And we all manage grief and loss in our own way.  (Side note –  It’s actually okay to let people who are in the midst of misery express grief, be sad, feel flat or lost, and be anything but the life of the party.)

So how do we help when difficulties are drawn out for our friends and loved ones?  Think about the times in your own life when things have been hard. What made a difference to you?  Firstly, don’t judge your friends and loved ones, and don’t feel you have to fix anything or take responsibility for changing them or their situation.

Ask them how they’re going.  Ask them what they need.  Sometimes we need to talk things through, sometimes we need to talk about ANYTHING other than what’s really happening, sometimes we want to be left alone. And our needs might change from moment to moment, hour to hour.

The best advice here is to stay in contact, and then ask the simple questions:

‘How are you?’ or ‘Are you okay?’

‘Is there anything I can do to help?’

If you can see an obvious need, don’t be afraid to ask and then step in.  Or if it’s appropriate, just go ahead and do it – hose the garden, mow the lawn, bake the cake, mind the kids, take the washing off the line, bundle up a care parcel.

Sometimes all that’s needed is a hug or a kind word.

When I was ill recently, a dear friend brought me homemade chicken soup, and another loaned me a book. It was the difference between me eating something healthy and going without, and I had soul food in the form of something new to read. Heaven.

Yesterday, after a difficult day, I went to my front door and found a posy of flowers and a tender note filled with love and encouragement. It brightened my spirits immeasurably. Friends texted me to check in on me. I felt loved, affirmed and connected.

It’s these small acts of thoughtfulness, these simple gestures of kindness that ease the way for us when life’s road gets hard.

How can you be a friend today?

Much love, Nicole  xx

The Importance of Meeting for Coffee

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”  ~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

 

I was talking to a friend on the phone yesterday. She’s like so many of my friends right now. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. A busy working mum. And on top of that all the usual life dramas.

We were nearly at the end of our conversation and I heard it.

The catch in her breath.

The sound of silent tears falling.

It came out of me in a rush. ‘Let’s meet for coffee tomorrow,’ I said impulsively. ‘Sounds like you could really use a friend right now.’

Talking on the phone is a marvelous way to stay connected. So is email, or texting.

But nothing beats a good old-fashioned catch up. With hugs. With eye contact. With the chance to truly connect face to face. Things can get said, heard, supported and sorted face-to-face in a way that they never can via distance.

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Meeting for a cup of coffee (or a walk round the park, or a glass of wine, or a green smoothie or whatever else is your thing) is a vital part of not just maintaining a friendship, but of maintaining our lives and emotional well-being.

If you’re feeling strong and in a good place right now, maybe you could reach out to someone you know is struggling a little and offer to meet them for coffee.

If you’re the one feeling lonely, isolated and like you’re drowning rather than swimming (even if you’re doing it with a stoic smile on your face as many of us do!) why don’t you ask to meet a friend for coffee.

Let’s make an effort and get together.

Because when we do, the love and care that flows has an amazing power to help and heal. And we all benefit from that magic.

Thinking of you today and sending so much love, Nicole xx

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Kindness Challenge – Week Two

Image from Candid Slice

Image from Candid Slice

“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
~ E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

“I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.”
~ Jon Katz

 

Hello Lovelies! Welcome to Week Two of our six week Kindness Challenge.

To participate in today’s challenge all you need to do is select and perform one of the following kindness activities. The beneficiaries of our acts of kindness for Week Two will be friends.

Naturally, if you choose to do this activity more than once, or to work on one each day that’s absolutely fine. In fact, it’s wonderful. 🙂

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Okay, Kindness Ambassadors, let’s go!

  1. Pick up the phone and call a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while. Remind them of five reasons why they are terrific.
  2. Whip up a double batch of soup, cupcakes, spaghetti or something else tasty. Keep half for you, and deliver half to a friend who could use a night off from cooking.
  3. Write a letter to a friend, telling them how much your friendship means to you.
  4. Spend some time with your friend, and really, really, really listen to them. Make them the most important thing in the world for that time you share together. Gift them your attention and your presence.
  5. Put out your neighbour’s bin, or bring it in for them when it is empty.
  6. Go through your old photos and make some copies to send to your friend, capturing happy or special moments you’ve shared together.

    Image from The Thing Itself

    Image from The Thing Itself

  7. Send a text message, email or card encouraging your friend to believe in and follow their dream. Let them know you have faith in them!
  8. Pick a bunch of flowers from the garden, and give them to your friend for no reason except that you love them.
  9. Buy your friend a coffee, or invite them over for a cup of tea or a glass of wine and enjoy some time catching up.
  10. Offer to walk the dog or look after the kids while your friend is ill.
  11. Post an anonymous gift to a friend going through a hard time. It could be a small amount of money, a scratch it card, a voucher or a movie ticket. Write a note, disguising your handwriting, that says simply THINKING OF YOU XX
  12. Give your friend a heart-felt and sincere compliment.
  13. Play day spa and give your friend a footmassage, a manicure or a new hairdo.

    Image from IFeng.com

    Image from IFeng.com

  14. Offer your friend some reiki or a healing if you do that kind of thing.
  15. Go for a picnic together, even if it’s in the backyard!
  16. Choose a crystal for a friend, give it to them, and tell them why you chose it and how it can be helpful for them.
  17. Offer to clean the kitchen, do a basket of ironing or some other chore to help out a busy friend.
  18. Send five text messages, at random times throughout the day, reminding your friend that they are fabulous and letting them know how much you love them.
  19. Give your pet ten minutes of your undivided attention. Do something together that you know they love!
  20. Make a mix tape/CD/USB stick of songs from the era you and your friend grew up in, or from an important time in your lives. Give it to them as a gift.
  21. Give your friend a hug! Hugs are good for us. Feel free to hug your pet too.

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Cups of Tea and Connection – A Challenge!

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“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.”  ~ Douglas Pagels

 

Today I have a small challenge for you.  It will only take five minutes, although you’re welcome to spend longer.

My challenge goes like this:

  1. Take 5 minutes out of your busy day.
  2. Fetch yourself a delicious beverage – a cup of tea, a good coffee, a cold juice, sparkly water, a glass of wine – whatever works for you.
  3. Connect with a friend or loved one. The rules of connection are these: it can be in person, a phone call, or a letter.  (That’s right, a letter, written by hand, on paper, so that you can pop a stamp on it and send it through the post.  Email, facebooking and texting don’t count.)
  • If you’re connecting in person invite your friend along to enjoy a beverage with you.  Or use your five minutes to call them and organise a face-to-face meet up sometime soon.
Image from www.waverlycare.wordpress.com

Image from www.waverlycare.wordpress.com

  • If you’re connecting by phone (or skype!) sit somewhere with your beverage of choice, make that call and enjoy a quick catch-up.  Aim to put a smile on someone’s face. Reach out for the joy of hearing another’s voice and sharing your news.
Image from www.mikehulsebus.com

Image from www.mikehulsebus.com

  • If you’re connecting by letter, enjoy the simple act of putting pen to paper. Letters can be funny, warm, wise, newsy, deep or full of scribbled pictures and snippets of poetry.  Who doesn’t love getting a letter in their mail box?  Maybe you’ll be lucky and get one in return.  Older people and children especially seem to appreciate letters.  Lovers do too. Who can you surprise and delight with one of your letters?
Image from www.theletterwritingrevolution.blogspot.com

Image from www.theletterwritingrevolution.blogspot.com

Taking five minutes to connect with the ‘human touch’ is one of the simplest and most powerful acts you can take to maintain relationships.  It also alleviates social isolation, one of the leading causes of depression.

I hope you can find that five minutes to take up my challenge.  In fact, I dare you to make it a regular part of your life!  Much love to you, Nicole ❤ xx