Nietzsche said that ‘Autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature’, and so it seems fitting that it’s in these Autumnal days that Electric Ireland are running their Powering Kindness campaign to bring kindness into focus.
It requires a look into one’s soul to really muse on its presence in your life; whether you act with kindness and whether you experience it from others. It’s one of life’s big questions – ‘are you kind enough?’ and it takes some thinking about.
We know we are supposed to act with a gentle tenderness towards others – it’s fine towards our loved ones, but what about the other people? Colleagues, people in shops, bankers, bus drivers, bosses? Yes. Then it’s another story.
We are conditioned to act a particular way in specific situations; business-like at work (distant?), removed in shops (disinterested?), disengaged when on public transport (cold?).
But recall now how nice (and genuinely surprising) it is when you receive a random smile from someone you don’t know. When someone holds a door, when someone says ‘good morning’ as you pass on the street whilst running to the train…
Small acts of engagement – they draw you closer. It shouldn’t be, but it is surprising how good it feels, and that’s when you’re on the receiving end of these TINY acts of reaching out. The thing is, of course, that when you are the initiator of these little communications, no matter how mini; it makes you feel great. That’s the thing with kindness – it goes in a circle. It comes back to you, maybe not directly from the neighbor you smiled at but didn’t acknowledge you back, but somewhere else in your day you will be rewarded with an equal and opposite reaction. Generally.
Obviously, it’s not always easy to find kindness in your day- some days are downright awful and the kind-o-meter is totally turned to zero, but if you made a conscious effort to try to initiate and spread some kind vibes on those Hellish days, you’ll feel better, even for a minute.
It’s not all fluffy, feathery stuff though; there are lots of people going through difficult days all the time – from little kids starting ‘big school’ and being terrified, to all the people on this island suffering from unimaginable financial stress to the older people who are watching their life, as they knew it, fade away.
They are sitting beside you at work, or on the bus, or in the shop queue…each with their own set of worries and wishes. Plato said, ‘Be kind, everyone you know is fighting a hard battle’ and so with that in mind; try to Power Kindness in these soulful Autumn days. Set yourself a task – talk to three people today that you wouldn’t usually do – greet someone, thank someone, compliment someone – make it a game with yourself. Power it up! It’ll come back to you…
During Electric Ireland Powering Kindness Week doing a kind deed is even more rewarding. Every good deed you do will help raise money for Special Olympics Ireland, Childline or Breakthrough Cancer Research. See the site here.
And to get you in the zone, read George Saunders’ Advice to Graduates speech in the New York Times here, you’ll be glad you did…