Kindness

His Holiness the Dalai Lama reminds us “My religion is simple. My religion is kindness. The more you nurture a feeling of kindness, the happier and calmer you will be.”

Seldom have we felt the need for calm more than at this point in history.  Within our homes, our workplaces and our countries.

You and I, along with every person on the planet, are neurobiologically wired for connection; to sit with each other, to work alongside one another, to hug, to dance and to sing in crowds of people united through sport and the arts. Feeling alone and disconnected from all that is familiar in our lives is fuelling disconnection and anxiety at the deepest level.

Even if you can’t find the right words to articulate your emotions right now, the world feels different.

Many people say they’re emotionally exhausted, even experiencing burnout ~ perhaps what they’re really saying is that they’re lonely. And deeply afraid that their world won’t ever feel quite ‘right’ again.

We’re all in the same ocean with this pandemic change wave, but in truth we’re sitting in very different boats. Some have found sheltered waters to ride out the storm, whilst others are being wildly tossed about and the experience still feels very raw. 

These past few weeks I have been feeling the weight of coaching conversations where people are deep in struggle. It’s been a long and challenging year.

And of all the many things we can do to support ourselves and others in these times, one stands out above all the rest.

Kindness.

To think kindly. To listen kindly. To act kindly.

A fascinating study in the journal Emotion showed that random acts of kindness in the workplace have a very positive ripple effect. There are some wonderful ideas in this article on ways to ignite more kindness in our days at work.

In Richard Davidson’s words “the quality of our connections and how close we feel to others is a strong contributor to whether we’re flourishing or flailing. Kindness is in our genes and nurturing it consistent with our fundamental nature.” 

I believe that kindness and self-compassion are first cousins. Dr Kristen Neff reminds us that with self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.

And as we head into end of year celebrations, may I wish you all a very kind season. A season where you take the time to be kind to yourself and others, to be self-compassionate, to rest where possible and practice self-care at every turn.

With gratitude

Alison Lalieu