blogging, Motivational

Connecting through Kindness

Meaningful connection is diminishing. Communities are more divided on political, cultural, socio-economic and environmental fronts.

Residents of larger cities feel more disconnected and more alone than ever before.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

Despite being well-connected via devices and instant messaging, feelings of loneliness and isolation are on the rise the world over and especially so, in a pandemic-ridden world.

Why?

In many communities, people lead ultra-busy lives. They rush between work, home, family, and the responsibilities of life. A sense of belonging and loving relationships are so critical to our well-being, so if they are lacking, the body’s health and immune system suffer greatly.

What can we do about this apparent sense of disconnection in a highly connected world?

Meredith Gaston states that in some of the world’s blue zones (i.e. places on earth in which significant numbers of inhabitants live above one hundred years of age):

… connection is acknowledged as key. Singing, dancing, gardening, cooking and pooling funds and resources together are daily practices. People are imbued with a sense of purpose and meaning within such community.

This seems to apply, irrespective of age.

When others think of us, include us, care for us, want to bring out the best in us and we in them, we decrease our individual and collective stress, pain and loneliness. We feel more harmonious and motivated to share in the many pleasures of life. Joyous connections keep us feeling youthful, purposeful and alive. [Meredith Gaston]

KINDNESS CONNECTS US

Kindness creates a bond that unifies different people and links us together, offering that sense of belonging that is so critical to our mental health.

When we practise kindness, we tend to focus more on what we can give and share with others and build a more cohesive network of support.

A little kindness can change a life in an instant.

Practising Kindness

A word of encouragement, a smile, a chat over a cup of tea, or over a neighbouring fence, a thoughtful acknowledgement, an offer of a helping hand; or even a simple hug can work wonders for a person who is struggling with life and difficult thoughts.

Make a connection with your act of kindness.

A small surprise gift, a random act of kindness such as a care package or baked cake can show someone you care and your altruistic intentions for them.

Yellow rose petals whorl beauty

When I would bake a batch of biscuits or cookies, the M.o.t.h, (aka Man of the House) would take some extra cookies into the city on his way to work and hand them to a homeless gent.

Mother Teresa said:

Spread Kindness wherever you go. Let nobody come to you without leaving happier.

What random act of kindness could you offer to someone today?

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93 thoughts on “Connecting through Kindness”

  1. Much needed advice.

    How true your statement

    “A sense of belonging and loving relationships are so critical to our well-being, so if they are lacking, the body’s health and immune system suffer greatly”

    Sadly people lack time even being kind to family members, leave alone interacting with outside world kindly.

    Less said better about the attitude.

    We do come across acts of kindness but some selfishness lurks behind.

    It’s really sad that nobody can change anybody.

    We are busy in making money and that too at any cost

    No humanity left.

    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
    Henry James

    Thank you Amanda for this thought provoking post.

    Good morning from India.

    Have a lovely Sunday.

    I guess your local time must be past 2.00 pm

    Like

    1. Good evening, PtP. I love that you are always so responsive to these reflective posts. You are so interested in kindness and positivity, your family must be the loveliest people!
      Making money does come at a cost to humanity. Not everyone realises the price.
      I like the Henry James quote you posted. Marvellous words that do need repeating! Some take longer to get the message.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes I rushed to hit publish too soon. Thanks! Was there more than two errors?
      And I have wondered how genuine Mother Theresa was, at times. Many Nuns will say wise things, but are quite intimidating and mean away from the camera.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree, as does our Prime Minister. It is interesting how some NZers like her making a point of kindness while others think it isn’t important in government. Given that people look their leaders for examples, it is worrying if people don’t want their leaders to be kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is worrying that some citizens think kindness should not be a desirable trait in a leader. No doubt they feel it is weak to show kindness. On the other hand, to be able to show kindness when you are a leader is never submissive. It comes from strength, knowing you CAN show kindness and still lead. It is an example that could have a tremendous ripple effect.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post with a reminder that kindness does connect us and can soften much!

    We had a few random acts of kindness this week- and one of them was regifting a book I got from the little library in front of a store – I gave it away an hour later to someone who was playing a game on her phone and said how much she liked this and that – she loved the little book and smiles unfolded
    ☀️😊

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      1. ☀️😊😊
        I wish I did more acts of kindness when I was younger – I might have done some but for me – maturity is what really helped me develop a certain empathy that leads to giving and offering goodies generously (and God) – but I think back to the 90s- and the single mom that lived down the street from some cousins – I sometimes treated her kids to McDonald’s happy meals w/ my nephews – but only years later did I realize how financially needy she was at that time – and I wish I would have slipped her a twenty dollar bill or something – she was always grateful that her children were invited to lunch (and sadly I didn’t realize the fast food thing was bad yet) but Amanda – I didn’t have the life seasoning yet –
        And now I would say we scan and qstay alert for chances to do outreach – but do try to keep it in balance

        Liked by 2 people

        1. It is a fine line, Yvette and the person has to be open to receiving a charitable act, especially if it involves money. Sometimes they feel worse accepting money. Goods, services, and simple kindness seem to have less of a potential backlash on their self-esteem. So I think buying the McDonalds meals was the best thing. A treat that they couldn’t afford would have brightened their day.
          However, I do think that younger people can be more selfish and generally speaking, folks might become more altruistic in their older ages.

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          1. I agree – about altruism and older years –
            And regarding the balance and reception – did I tell you that I once gave extra flowers to a neighbor a few streets over? I knew her from the times she volunteered at the voting polls –
            Anyhow – she told me that her husband asked
            “Now why does she think we need her flowers” (southern accent on that)
            And she chuckled and so did i- because he just didn’t know that some gardeners share flowers – what we do (esp bulbs that need to be divided )
            But his comment aligns with what you noted about reception –
            There are culture considerations and appropriateness –
            Hmnmm
            Hope your week is off to a nice start

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  4. A timely reminder for me, Amanda. Thanks for this post. Oh do you know that here in Singapore, we’ve been having ‘kindness campaign’ for many years now. It’s that important. And maybe like what you said, people are getting busier and busier and it becomes easy to neglect this important virtue, hence the need to be reminded somehow. 🙂

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  5. I’ve always loved the idea of random acts of kindness, and also deliberate acts of kindness to someone we care about but who needs a little something special. We all need each other, and during this pandemic I think we’ve come to appreciate that even more. How wonderful when we finally get together and no one is in quarantine!

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  6. Acts of kindness call for personal contact in order to be genuine. From where I’m standing, the technological age has removed a lot of personal contact from life, particularly for the young. I don’t feel good about that. I’m not even comfortable using the word “chat” for engaging on line, or “community” for groups of people who haven’t even met. Maybe we’ll get a backlash one day and future generations will re-learn the skills which I fear we are losing.

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    1. The meaning we formerly attached to community is much diluted by the technological age, Phil and Michaela. I remember the high school teachers referring to the parent body as a community, where two of my kids went to school. I was surprised. In the primary school, every parent knew each other, worked together at the canteen and to fundraise for the school, developed friendships etc. The high school was further away and the parents busy, with much less involvement in the school, so I didn’t make many friendship and didn’t feel like I was a part of a community at the high school, even though I visited frequently. And yet, bloggers I have never met feel like friends! It is curious. The unified interest in others lives and writings as well as this sense of collectiveness – that we are writing together in this ether called the blogospher feels like a kind of community, but a different one to that with which we are familiar. And I do take your point that I think you are making. Having real friends and in depth conversations with others is being lost and being replaced by online friends, clipped chats and short notes online. Apparently loads of young kids don’t know how to properly construct an email and email communication is more like messenger!!!
      It is not yet possible to live a virtual life and be happy and content. It is a fundamental human need to have real life contact with others too. Perhaps a Renaissance of conversation and meeting people in person will happen. I suppose there were similar feelings when television was introduced? This is another social change technology has inadvertently brought us that we are challenged to adapt to.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving an affirming comment, Nonsmokingladybug. We have followed each other for almost a decade, even since I started blogging I believe – yet I don’t know your name! I am Amanda.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful rose photo, Amanda. And I couldn’t agree more, acts of kindness no matter how small, can change the recipient’s day for the better. Kindness is key in our troubled world. 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point about many of us operating on auto pilot, Janis. I think that is true. We do forget to connect with small kindnesses in the midst of responsibilities and duties and boxes to be checked in day to day life. Life gets in the way, so we have to factor in kindness or connection time.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been pre-occupied lately with the connectness in the Blue Zones, which seems to be one of the main cornerstones to their whole existence. This post seems to indicate similar thought patterns. It’s all so thought provoking, so much so that I’ve felt the need to try my hand at a futuristic novel – it’s just for the family, as it features them all in a futuristic, rather utopian Australia where Blue Zone culture has been embraced. It’s good to dream….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chris that sounds so very exciting and I did wonder what you had been up to, lately.
      I love that you find connection through kindness and Blue culture worth contemplating more. You could change the names or ages of the family members and self-publish a book. Even if you don’t, it is a fabulous gift for your family in its own form.

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  9. I completely agree about how we as a society are becoming more disconnected and divided. I like your idea to practice kindness. It’s funny how something so small, yet thoughtful can have such a huge impact on someone’s day and possibly motivate them to pay it forward.

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    1. I had to rescue your comment from the spam folder, WanderingCanadians, so I apologise for the delay in responding. You are right, practising kindness works to combat division and disconnectedness. Paying it forward can really motivate someone’s day for the better. It surprises and delights yet how much does it really cost? It could be simply buying the next person in the coffee queue a cuppa of whatever they order – an anonymous kindness is quite powerful and motivating. Do you sometimes ‘pay it forward?’ If so, can I ask in what ways?

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  10. Kindness is a powerful subject, Amanda. Glad you are bringing it up because we need reminders. I sent an email this morning to an aged cousin to let her know she is being thought about. I write cards as often as possible to many who rarely get any mail. Kindness is small ways is even more important as we age and my primary focus in life right now. I have purchased 2 books from Chicken Soup for the Soul on kindness. I have a quilt ready to put together called Create Kindness which I will donate to the apartment complex for their walls when complete. Every small act is huge in someone else’s life. I have some good neighbors that get that and others that isolate and missing the fun. It’s a very lonely life as we get older. Even for some young people. A little kindness goes a long way. Thanks for bringing this up. I’ve read many of your other articles and have not had the chance yet to comment but have been enjoying them. Catching up slowly. Hugs to you. m

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey my wonderful blogger friend Marlene! You always bring a smile to my face when you leave a comment, so I am not surprised to hear that you believe kindness in small ways is more important as we age and your primary focus. I am well aware that ageing brings loneliness and actively work so that doesn’t come to my life when I am older. For those who are isolating themselves, is that due to fear of Covid or introversion/social anxiety?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m once again the new kid on the block so the going is harder to make new friends at this age in this area. I think more progressively than most around me. But kindness will break down any barrier. I have fear and social anxiety too but it will never rule my life. I just keep putting myself out there with a smile. I found my “101 Random Acts of Kindness ” on my son’s headboard while I’m house sitting. It has all my little stickies in the parts I wanted to remember and go back to. Thought I accidentally gave it away. 😉 He gets it. Kindness Matters.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. When mother was alive i used to visit her and shop in the city centre…which was alive with shop door sleepers. I used to stop and chat and learned a lot from them. Money changed hands? But of course…what they did with it was their business as how I spent my money was mine. People need respect as well as kindness.

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      1. No, take refuge in shop doorways for the night and, given the death of the high street, with many small shops closed even before the Covid businss, settle there for the day as well, when the weather was inclement. Very nice people, I found.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Kindness is a difficult topic. It seems straightforward, think Golden Rule, but I’ve come to realize that some people hold it against you. They think you’re a fake or that you’re gaslighting them. This is, of course, because that is what they do so they figure everyone else is the same way. I’m still kind enough, but much more guarded now than I was even 5 years ago.

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    1. Well Ally, that’s a whole nother post right there, isn’t it? Kindness weaponized in relationships. How sad is our world now that kindness can be seen as insincere. I am sorry that you experienced that but thinking back I can think of several instances where this did indeed occur. How did you deal with it? Cutting off that person?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I learned from the experiences. It taught me that people who want to believe the worst in you will do so regardless of what you show them. So I keep them at arm’s length. I get what makes them tick now, so I feel empowered and realize subsequent situations like this instantly.

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  13. I totally agree with you. Kindness should flow within and outside us every time. A lot of people are struggling, straight to the door of depression. Thus, a little kindness from engagement with people will definitely go a long way.

    Thanks for this

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We definitely need that small offer of kindness if we are feeling depressed. It can change one’s whole mood. But depression is a condition that does need to be fixed internally by the person themselves. Not externally by others, don’t you think?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My husband brought home his friend from work and told me he was homeless and had to live and sleep by the bus stop or gas station since his fiancee kicked him out. For some reason I never liked the guy, there was something off with him and i argued with my husband a few times regarding him always backing up his pitiful friend. Recently, his friend went out, took my husband’s bike without permission and never came back! Our numbers were blocked. We had report the case to the police. My husband still looks at me with guilt trip in his eyes for not listening to my fair warnings bringing unknown people living with us under 1 roof.

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        1. Oh, that is so disappointing that he felt the need to steal from his friends. Do you think he was mentally ill or had some kind of addiction? Even if not, he crossed the boundaries of friendship.

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  14. Hi Amanda, Kindness never grows old. Yet, kindness helps us grow old, hopefully in a healthy way. You make this point well discussing the world’s blue zones. Our family often discusses this concept when challenges appear in our lives. An act of random kindness hopefully shifts the balance in this world. Thank you for sharing a beautiful and thoughtful post. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

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