If you’ve been floating around social media today I’m certain you will know that it is Anti Bullying Week, a week that has been dedicated to raising the profile of bullying and its effects on people, with lots of associated campaigns to teach us how to deal with the problems caused. I’ve talked about my own experiences of bullying before, and how I still get the odd comment about my skin or my wonky eye even today, so I’m not about to go into any of that. There will be a lot of bloggy content from other people about how you can and can’t prevent or respond to all kinds of bullying, and I’m not about to suggest I know how to fix it.
But one thing I do know is that kindness from one person to another can go a long way to making someone smile, and making someone smile in their heart and on their face is one of the best gifts you can give. Nine times out of ten we have no idea what someone is feeling or what they may have been going through, and so being kind is incredibly important. So as today is the start of Anti Bullying Week, and considering the horrors that are prevalent in our world, here are just a few suggestions of things you could do today to try and make someone smile. Go on… put these things on your list of things to do this week.
Publicly thank someone for that thing they did for you so other people can see how great they are. It doesn’t really matter what it was – cooking Sunday dinner, buying you a birthday present, having the kids so you could go out, dog sitting, doing your ironing. You don’t have to stand up on the bus and shout it out (unless you want to), but a little mention on twitter or facebook saying thank you for their act of kindness is always a lovely gesture.
Been the recipient of an act of kindness like those mentioned above? Even if you haven’t, pass on the love by doing something similar for someone else. Send someone flowers, offer to feed the cat, do the dishes, send a message to a suitable radio show that’ll get read out on air, bake a cake, take someone Christmas shopping. Whatever it is, do it because you love someone and you want to be kind.
Buy a postcard from the town where you live and send it to a friend who you haven’t seen for a while. You know, like the old “wish you were here” messages, but with less “hey look at me, I’m on holiday”. Just say hi, tell them you miss them, maybe you could also use it as an invitation to that person to come and stay with you for a few days.
Make an effort to give complements. Don’t just think about it, find opportunities throughout the day and give them out willingly. Complements cost absolutely nothing but can mean the absolute world. I bet you could give ten, maybe even 20 complements right now. Say it out loud, put it on twitter, send a text.
When are you next giving blood? Are you on the organ donor register? Both of these things could be the ultimate act of kindness – doing something super simple now that could save someone else’s life tomorrow. Please, if you can, do both of these things this week. (If you’re worried about giving blood like I was, read my blog post about the day I overcame my fear, it really isn’t as bad as all that!)
Something I think lots of us are pretty good at these days is donating our unwanted ‘stuff’ to charity when we have a clear out. This is a really great thing to do – it’s free for us to do (and creates extra space in our cluttered homes), and both helps charities raise much needed funds as well as offers free or low cost items to those who can’t afford high street stores. My suggestion here is that you have your usual post-Christmas / New Year clear out now – help charities raise cash that can be spent in the run up to Christmas as the weather gets colder and people potentially feel the pinch a bit more than the rest of the year.
And finally, if you read blogs or watch vlogs regularly, spend a few extra minutes and comment on a handful. Or if you see a photo shared on facebook or twitter you think is great, don’t just “like” it, say so using words. Something as simple as telling someone you enjoyed what they wrote or said or snapped can really make someone smile.
There are so many opportunities for us to be kind every single day – and most don’t need any money or take much time, they just need a teeny bit of thought. Open the door for someone, beckon someone into the line of traffic ahead of you, offer to take a snap of tourists struggling to take a selfie, offer your postman or a charity collector a hot chocolate to warm them up, ask the person looking at a map if they need help with directions, phone your mum or dad and chat to them about the weather. Whatever it is you do, just be kind, it’s the best way to be.
I’m still being inspired by the BEDN topics set by Rosalilium. If you’re also taking part in this everyday blogging thing make sure you comment or tweet with your links so I can check them out.