“A little bit of kindness goes a long way”- Laura Marston (nee O’Connor), 1999.
What does kindness mean to you? Is it paying for someone’s groceries in the supermarket, or is it helping someone cross the road? Is it something small or is it a grand gesture?
The answer is that it is all of them.
Kindness or the act of being kind is however you interpret it to be. Whatever act of kindness you do, whether it’s one you specifically thought of doing or one that you do without thinking, it can really go a long way for the recipient. Think of the last time you were the recipient of a random act of kindness. How did it make you feel to receive it? It’s a great feeling isn’t it?
Now think about the last time you were kind to someone, how did you feel that time? Good, or did you brush it off as an everyday event that you do? I bet for the person, they felt like you did when you were the recipient.
Seth’s blog says there are three different types of kindnesses;' "There is the kindness of ‘please’ and ‘thank you. And the kindness of “I was wrong, I’m sorry.”’ and then “there is the kindness of dignity.” The final kindness is “The kindness of not seeking to maximise short-term personal gain”
Kindness no.1: Please and thank you/I was wrong, I am sorry; These are the small, pretty much everyday kindnesses that just happen and we barely think about them. These small acts of kindness are acknowledgements, where you make the person know that you see and hear them, and that you acknowledge them.
Kindness no.2: Dignity; Wikipedia states that dignity is “the right of a person to be valued and respected for their own sake, and to be treated ethically” . It’s when dignity and respect come together in a truly powerful way.
Kindness no.3: One that isn’t seeking to maximise short-term personal gain; This is about doing something for someone else because you can and you want to, not because you want to gain kudos points for being ‘that person’.
All three types of kindnesses have the same thing in common, they are all for someone else and they can all have a positive impact on someone’s day or even their life.
Can kindness be taught or is it something that you are born with/it comes natural to you? Again it’s a bit of everything. Some people are naturally kinder in personality than others, however acts of kindness can inspire others to be kind. A few years ago suspended coffees hit the news. Their mission; “Bring communities together in hope, to inspire and empower people to change lives, and to restore faith in humanity” one coffee at a time. How it works is that when you buy a beverage from a coffee shop that is involved in this mission, you can pay for a suspended coffee as well as your own drink. When someone in need requires a warm drink, they can ask to have a coffee from the suspended coffee ‘stock’ whilst preserving their dignity. See how that sits with kindness no.2 “the right of a person to be valued and respected for their own sake, and to be treated ethically”
Another example of people inspiring kindness towards others is the charity Something to Look Forward to which was started by Fiona and Andy Coldron. In 2007 Fiona was a single mother who had just started a new job. Unfortunately she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and was only entitled to statutory sick pay(SSP) as she hadn’t been with the company long enough.
Cancer poverty is an awful side effect of cancer. Many cancer patients can only receive SSP due to either not being in a company for long enough, or the company they work for doesn't have a company sick pay award. SSP is currently £99.35 a week, and it will rise to £109.40 from April 6th 2023. Other benefits are harder to gain as you need to be in a desperate situation for a long period of time, such as six months, before you can make a claim. Take my word for it that treatment for cancer doesn’t allow you the brain capacity or energy to complete the applications for benefits. When you are finally ready to apply you are more than likely ready to go back to work and therefore no longer entitled to the financial support.
During her treatment Fiona and Andy realised that small treats they planned, such as a take away or a trip to the cinema, gave them and their family something positive to look forward to. In 2013 Fiona was diagnosed with incurable secondary breast cancer, and once again she and Andy found that having little treats made things much more bearable. So in 2015 they registered “Something to Look Forward to” as a charity, and inspired others to provide little treats - and some very large ones - for others going through cancer.
Sadly, Fiona Coldron passed away in February 2021 peacefully and surrounded by her family.
There are so many ways you can give kindness, some are grand gestures and others are small, whichever you do today it’s all about the other person and how a little bit of kindness can go a long way. Just like Fiona’s kindness is her legacy, and it continues to inspire others to provide something for those living with cancer to look forward to.