Three years ago I discovered the meaning of kindness. I had trapped nerves in both of my elbows and being in a wheelchair this meant that my mobility was severely limited. This was a particularly challenging time in my life as I was also treated very badly by my employer, I was in a lot of pain and I required two operations with no certainty that they would repair the damage caused by the trapped nerves.
I was not able to work for a total of six months due to the severity of the operations and the extensive recovery period. After each operation I needed 24hr care for three weeks including help with getting dressed, washing, eating, and medication. My husband was unable to take six weeks off work and he would find it difficult to manage without support even if he could. Our options were limited - we either had to hire agency carers or simply not cope. I did not like the idea of being looked after by strangers, but this appeared to be the only viable solution. However, three weeks before my first operation, a couple of our friends offered to move in with us for several weeks to help look after me.
My friends did not just look after my personal needs - they went beyond that. They gave me something that was more precious than being dressed, washed, and fed - they cared for me. They wanted me not to be just physically comfortable, but to feel loved and cared for also. This is something I believe that no paid carer would have been able to give me.
And this is when I realised that kindness is priceless.
I have experienced a lot of kindness in my life - kindness from friends and family, kindness from various communities I am a part of, and kindness from total strangers. I know that kindness is a priceless commodity because it brightens up my day - a thoughtful note, a friendly response to my social media post, or a phone call to check how I’m doing mean the world to me. The intention is more important than the magnitude of the action as there is no scale to measure kindness. Doing something for others and ourselves with the feeling of goodwill makes a difference and helps us get through challenging times.
What are you going to do today to be kind?
Why not ask yourself this question every day?
Kindness starts with ourselves. If you are struggling, please remember you are not on your own - ask for help. Or get in touch with me and let’s talk.