Gift-wrapped Kindness

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted—Aesop

Two things have struck a chord within me in the last 24 hours…

The first is the quote to the right, which was in a newsletter sent out by my coach Jennie (you can read some of her Tips here). The second was a sentiment expressed by my colleague – that “volunteering and supporting our community is essential throughout the year. It’s not just for Christmas!”

And as I look forward to celebrating Christmas day with some dear friends, and sharing the festive spirit with my loved ones, it makes me wonder whether my acts of kindness sometimes come with strings attached…

Whilst our motivations for doing something to help someone might come from a genuine place, do we hold expectations of how our kindness will be received?

I gave an early gift to a friend in need, so that she could feel reassured that there would be food on her table at Christmas. My intention was genuine, yet I felt disappointed with her reaction. I was so excited about doing something caring for her that I didn’t stop to think that she may not feel in the mood for celebrating in the midst of all her stress.

How misplaced my disappointment was!

We are often more compelled to charity and being of service to those less fortunate at this time of year. Yet our help is needed out of the festive season just as much.

And I can’t help but feel hypocritical when I’m forced to throw out wasted food, left over from too many big Christmas meals, when there are many who don’t have enough.

So these things have caused me to reassess how I think about and share kindness.

I’m going to make sure my friend knows I’m there if she needs me, and will call on Christmas morning to help brighten her day. I’m going to make a concerted effort to finish off leftovers before going out to buy more food. And I’m going to find a couple of ways I can spread some kindness in my local community – now, as a starting point, and in a way I can regularly sustain.

What gifts of kindness will you give this season?

One of the simplest acts of kindness is a smile – given freely, regardless of whether it is returned!

Best wishes for a warm & magical festive season, and a healthy & happy new year to you all!