I recently started ordering BuddyBoxes from The Blurt Foundation. Not because I am depressed, but who wouldn’t like a hug in a box sometimes. I received two so far and The Little Book of Kindness was in the second one, among other things. It is a small book, I read it over two evenings, but to be honest I think it will work better if I read some of it every other day. When read in one go it becomes a bit exhausting, I’ll get to the why a bit later in my post.
Bernadette Russell started her adventure with kindness in the aftermath of the riots in London in 2011. She decided to embark on 366 days of kindness to try to make the world a bit better, by committing to do one kind thing for a stranger for 366 days. This book is in a way a short summary of her experience and a catalog of ideas. Divided into ten brief chapters dedicated to being kind to oneself, strangers, those we love, environment, online, people we disagree with, at work, in your community, to your elders, and how to do it all for free.
I wholeheartedly agree with the idea, I believe that small acts of kindness can change the world for someone and definitely for us. Being a selfish person it is this egocentric aspect that works for me: being kind makes me feel better (and i’s not harmful to anyone else, so win-win). Funnily enough I often forget to be kind to myself and I really struggled with the mirror exercise (name 10 things you unconditionally like about your body). We really tend to be our own worst critics, if anyone told me what I’m telling myself in my head I would flat-out refuse to ever talk to them again.
I really liked the overall idea and the specific ideas for acts of kindness. It’s great that Russell not only gives examples of what we can do, but also tells us when she got feedback that her actions really made a difference. However I do think it is a book that should be read in small doses, read in one go it did become a bit overwhelming for me. The amount of kind things I “should” be doing and I’m not had me exhausted and made my inner critic ecstatic: “see, you lazy, evil human being, you’re not doing enough!” with few more names thrown in. So by all means get it, read it and follow it, but do not feel guilty if you cannot do everything and make everyone happy, there is simply not enough time. Every time you do feel guilty go back to the first chapter on being kind to yourself, this is the foundation on which you need to build.
What was the kind thing someone did for you in the last week? How did it make you feel?