I have spoken a lot in my posts about kindness, and how important it is to me and my well-being. I have spoken about how, for me, trying hard to be positive, charitable and giving works as a strong form of therapy.
Some days, my anxiety is incredibly bad, and on those days I have learned that it is ok to be kind to myself. I understand it is important sometimes to go easy on myself and forgive myself for not necessarily being the best version of “me” all the time.
But today, I would like to speak a little about one of the things I do regularly commit to, as a small way of trying to do some good. In my heart, it feels like something I must do, (and love doing!) as a way to show my gratitude for all the help I have received throughout my struggles.
So, in August 2016 I began volunteering as a mentor for a young girl in foster care, who has learning difficultes. At age just 14, she has been in five foster homes, and had a difficult life. My role as her mentor is to act as a positive role model, a “constant” in her life, and to take her to different places for new and positive experiences. I also listen to any worries she may have, and offer advice to her. I then support her with any meetings she has with her social worker.
The first time I took her out, we took a drive to the beach, and she asked me a very straight question… “Why do you want to volunteer?”. I answered her, very simply, with “Well, I think it is important to help others, even if only in a small way.”
Since then, we have been on many days out, had many conversations, and have developed a great bond between us. We both look forward to our days together, and even wear matching friendship bracelets which we bought together during one of our trips.
Today, something really special happened, which really warmed my heart and made me feel so intensely proud and happy that I just needed to share it.
Whilst we sat having lunch together, my lovely young friend said to me “So, we will need to stick to sundays or maybe evenings now, as I won’t be available Saturdays any more.” “Oh?” I replied, “That sounds interesting! What will you be up to?!” She excitedly told me that she was now volunteering her saturdays in a charity shop. “That is brilliant!” I was beeming! “What made you decide to do that?”
And do you know what she said to me? Smiling from ear to ear, she said these words…
“Because it is important to help others, even if only in a small way.”
This moment really took my breath away, because it really hit home and clarified to me that being kind to others really does have an impact. When we are kind, we start a chain reaction of kindness, which sometimes just keeps on spreading from person to person. Kindness is infectious. And we all have it inside us, and we can use it any time we like.
I hope everyone has had a truly wonderful weekend.
Until next time…