Just after the US presidential elections, I was chatting with an American friend of mine and he told me he had felt so despondent after the election. In fact, he told me he had gone into a depression for a couple of weeks. As we spoke I told him that I had liked the hashtag #lovetrumpshate and how it had inspired me to think about creating a campaign, a kindness movement in 2017.
This, in turn, triggered a memory of when I was at uni and my best friend nicknamed me Julie ‘Love’ Leonard as even waaayy back then I felt so strongly that one person can make a difference.
And just before Christmas I had the immense pleasure of hearing Jane Goodall speak at the Tollwood Festival and she so succinctly and eloquently brought together all the thoughts I had been throwing around in my mind and she was so inspirational in what she has achieved with her own humanitarian projects. She is 80 years old and travels 300 days of the year to deliver her talks!
And I believe more than ever in 2017 with Trump and Brexit and so much hatred, racism, misogyny, and fear that it is time we start to be even kinder to ourselves, to our partners, our children, friends, family and strangers. It’s time to spread kindness and love and I do believe that love can ultimately win over hate.
So how can we be kinder?
1. Be more Mindful. By being more present and conscious of our thoughts and actions we can choose to be more kind to people in how we speak to them and act towards them.
2. Perform acts of kindness every day. Call a friend, talk to a stranger, write a letter, say thank you, buy someone a gift…the list is endless. Make an effort to do a small act of kindness every day and see how it makes you feel and those around you too.
3. Join a kindness challenge. There are many challenges out there such as the Advent Calendar or the Kinder Scotland challenge via Kind spring. Or why not create your own challenge and invite friends and family to join.
4. Donate to charity. There are so many worthy causes out there, big and small, local and national and International.
5. Volunteer with charity. There are so many ways to get involved and help others. Why not support refugees or transform some community green spaces or walk dogs in the local shelter.
6. Create (or join) a movement. Social media has changed how we can mobilize people into action and make large and small changes in people’s lives. Change.org and Justgiving are two examples where ordinary people can make a difference. Find a cause you are passionate about and join or create your own.
Together we can make a difference!