It’s World Kindness Day. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? We should all know what it means to be kind. We also know what unkindness looks like. 

If kindness is defined as being considerate, generous, and friendly, then working at Re-engage gives me a powerful opportunity to experience and observe kindness every single day. Older people, volunteers, team members – I see and hear about many acts of kindness, small and large, that make a huge difference to the lives of others.  

For all that we prize kindness to others, the importance of being kind to ourselves is all too often overlooked. We talk a lot about wellbeing and resilience but sometimes what we need is to just be kind: to be considerate, generous, and friendly to ourselves. Whether we have lots of time or little, taking time for ourselves and just doing something that makes us contented is important. It is also a reminder of what kindness feels like and helps keep that ‘muscle memory’ active. That helps us recognise and acknowledge the kindness of others, too, which can sometimes pass by unrecognised when life feels frantic.  

While giving and receiving kindness gives us all a warm glow, unkindness can be intensely painful. This is especially true when someone is unkind to a friend, colleague, or family member. A child being rejected, a colleague being hurt by a careless comment, or a loved one being misrepresented. It’s hurtful to see these.  

Is kindness still seen as important in today’s world? I think it is. The grotesquely mean things that happen on social media happen in a space where people are also incredibly kind and supportive towards strangers. How many times have we all read the words like “I don’t know you but my heart goes out to you and I am sorry for your loss”? 

The thousands of people who have put their names forward to help others, not just in the pandemic but on a long-term basis, are testament to the power of kindness. We may wish we saw it more often, but we do witness and experience the kindness of strangers as we go about our daily lives.  

I wish for three things this World Kindness Day: that there were greater understanding of the impact of being unkind; that we could really be kind to our precious planet; and that everyone could relish the importance of being kind to themselves, especially when that feels like the hardest possible thing to do. 

Meryl Davies
CEO, Re-engage

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