My Life of Learning

Navigating life and sharing the valuable bits along the way

Category: General

30 Kind Things

I wanted to do a post on something that I am a big champion of. It’s probably more accurate to say that I’m a gargantuan, elephantine, war painted cheerleader of it, really.

Kindness

Below are 30 ideas of ways that you might throw a bit of kindness out into the world, they are from my own experience and are things I have either personally done, or been on the fortunate receiving end of.  My hope is for this to inspire more acts of kindness to help nourish this crazy world we all live in. It can be a lot of fun, plus you can create some beautiful memories along the way.

1. Receiving and giving handmade gifts – the time, energy and thought invested is really special

2. Stopping to talk to people who are homeless and living as best they can

3. Paying for a parking ticket and left it in the machine for the next person

4. Paying for a car wash at Sainsbury’s (other supermarkets are available) and leaving it behind the counter for the cashier to hand out

5. Paying for someone’s coffee

6. Baking for the neighbours/a local care home/my piano teacher/friend

7. Buying a few bunches of flowers from Aldi (see, I said others are available) and leaving them in a bucket outside a charity shop with a note for anyone who could do with a smile to take one.

8. Giving £10 to a cashier in Iceland to put towards a customers shopping
(I didn’t realise how many different supermarkets I go to until writing this post….)

9. Buying some scratch cards and handed them out and left them on windscreens in envelopes

10. Offering to drive in place of the person who’d rather not (for whatever reason)

11. Picking people up in the early hours of the morning to make sure they get home safely

12. Sending complimentary email/messages and/or writing reviews for a great service or experience

13. Giving blood

14. Picking up bits of litter

15. Being sent my *favourite* false eyelashes as a random gift by the beautiful Sophie of PrettyandPolished.co.uk

16. Making parcels of Mum’s favourite sweet things with a thank you note and leaving them with the Police and Ambulance service

17. Posting a lottery ticket through Mum’s old house

18. Giving £5 to the hot dog van that Mum loved in the town centre to pay for someones food

19. Leving sweets randomly in work colleagues lockers

20. Telling people the positive observations/thoughts I’d had about them
(employing weirdness temperature check beforehand)

21. Doing a charity event
(this was mine and explains the ‘why’ – best run I have ever, ever done https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/siano-brien)

22. Buying a gift card through PayPal and emailing it to someone who gave me loads of great advice, support and help

23. Sending a funny/silly/positive picture through email to a colleague the day before they return from annual leave so the first thing they come back to is nice

24. Surprise gifts from Esty both from and to my incredible friends (YES small businesses!)

25. Donating nice stuff to charity shops instead of eBaying, or donating part of an eBay sale to charity

26. Notes written to me mentioning things people value, or think about me

27. Flowers I was unexpectedly given on the anniversary that Mum died, and they were her favourite, too

28. Leaving sweets randomly in work colleagues lockers

29. My sister arranging for Mum’s clothes to be made into a cuddly toy of her favourite animal, beautifully done by a small local business

30. Taking care of yourself
(see www.mylifeoflearning.co.uk/my-toolbox-for-the-stormy-times)

Key principle about what/how/when?

Authenticity

Do the things that resonate with, or work for YOU. It’ll feel more comfortable, be more likely to stick and, really, there is no ‘right’ way to ‘do’ kindness. You’re fucking awesome just for having the desire to try.

If you’re starting up with weaving more kindness in to life, it might be worth giving some things a go around a key date. When any form of behaviour changes are ‘tied’ to something it can be easier if people ask you why you’re doing these lovely things (for the observant, eagle eyed out there).

An example…

I wanted to try to create some positive association with keys dates since Mum died, like her birthday and the anniversary of when I waved her off that last time. This wasn’t about avoiding the harder emotions – you gotta feel that shit – but it’s eased on it’s way a bit quicker if you’re doing nice stuff for others. The very first thing I did was to give blood on the first anniversary, having never done it before. I’m not ashamed to say that I was really, really scared. So I baked brownies, for two reasons;

1) to give to the nurses and staff who work so fucking hard all day there and

2) as a distraction from the fear.

It worked, and I’ve been and donated 3 times since, AND I actually enjoy it – the staff have always been phenomenal. It was definitely worth a (pretty huge) nudge outside of my comfort zone to learn that. A valuable life lesson, right there.

The power of what you do might not be obvious, but don’t let that stop you, you never know how much someone might need the kindness you throw out.

I can’t tell you how much I personally needed this, and the person who sent it wouldn’t have known.

This post was inspired by you, sender 🙂

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My ‘toolbox’ for the stormy times

I mentioned in ‘Who am I, again?’ the notion of getting a ‘toolbox’ together for those times when you need a more personal type of DIY. 

No smut intended, but kudos to you if your mind went off on that tangent.
I salute you.

Creating a toolbox that contains a multitude of nourishing, accessible and kindness laced activities (ones that work for YOU) can be a huge help. Collectively, they’re like a sturdy anchor, ready for deployment during the inevitable stormy seas of life. A well-stocked toolbox can give you the best chance of keeping your feet planted firmly on the deck to ride them out.

We’re ok for a bit of a wobble though, I mean, jelly does it, so it can’t be all bad.

When I began to build my toolbox, I realised I had some work to do to acknowledge that I am worthy of the compassion and self-love that is required to put it together.
Ironic, but a good opportunity to practice what could get me over that hurdle and, therefore, what stuff might then go into my toolbox for other hurdles.

Cue next hurdle.

I really didn’t know what would work for me. I got ‘perfection paralysis’ thinking I needed to find the ‘perfect’ things, when in reality, that is a load of bollocks. I needed nourishment, not punishment, and searching for ‘perfect’ tends to lead me down the latter path.

So I just tried a few things, discarded some, adapted others, and came up with a (constantly evolving) toolbox that you’ll see, in it’s current form, listed out below.
I hope it helps as a foundation to inspire you, or even as a little light entertainment; there’s a couple of laughter-worthy ones in there. 
[laughing on its own often provides a remedy in itself – winning!]

1. Learning to play the piano

2. Learning to knit/crochet

3. My motorbike (reading about riding or actually getting out there)

4. Getting outside for a walk

5. A squeeze with my dogs (no surprises there)

6. Squeezing Play Doh

7. Writing/Drawing/Thought dumping (my house is littered with part completed notepads)

8. Baking (+ eating it at the end…or during…)

9. Reading (nutrition/gym training/most things human psychology)

10. Podcasts

11. This little handy anxiety breathing shape

12. Using Google Keep, Docs and Calendar (taking the to-do’s out of my mind)

13. Thinking and/or writing down nice things I’ve heard/seen/done

14. A pep talk to myself (yes it feels weird, but sometimes it actually bloody works; who’d have thought)

15. Changing my clothes (to something I feel good in. It’s always wise to actually own the item yourself though)

16. A nap

As you can see, I’ve got quite a few, I make no surprise of the fact that I love choice.
(you’ll not be surprised to learn that I *love* a good buffet)

N. B creating nautical analogies doesn’t feature…maybe that’s a new one.

I also turn to these things when the water is beautifully calm, there’s no storm shaped access key to the toolbox, these things are lovely outside of those experiences, too.

Also, sizing up new things for the toolbox may be best when you’re in this calm place, too. For me, trying to do that when I’m dangling by a shoelace from the side of the boat isn’t the time, my focus tends to be on slightly more pressing matters.
Oh, there’s another nautical analogy…

IMPORTANTLY

You don’t need to be of a certain standard of any of these things, no-one is marking you, it doesn’t work that way.
There’s no invitation here to mark yourself, either, thank you.

Likewise, one thing may work on one occasion but not the next, that is totally normal. Be kind to yourself, if not on your own instruction, on mine.

I find that being a novice at something can feel much more freeing, there are no expectations of what I ‘should’ produce, what I ‘should’ do or how anything ‘should’ look.

These are all about turning the pressure off.
The only pressure allowed here sits within the kettle as it boils water for a good cup of tea.

If you want any further information about any of the above, or want me to write a full post on any of the things I’ve mentioned, pop a comment below – this blog is all about being a helpful addition to life and sharing the valuable life lessons, you are best qualified to help me do just that!

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