You can only find comfort in being nice when you expect nothing in return.
As I sat on a train into the city yesterday a baby nearby started crying. They were quite clearly a newborn and his mother was a little stressed as her stop was coming up and she wanted to be able to comfort her child but would also need to navigate getting the stroller off the train. The lady sitting in front of me got up without hesitation and offered to help her off the train and coincidentally it was the same stop she was getting off at, so she helped her take the pram out of the station.
This got me thinking about a couple of conversations E and I had recently about the mental health benefits of being kind to others. I struggled at first in putting this into practice as I was too busy asking permission to be kind which, understandably so, usually triggers a persons “what’s in it for you?” complex.
So, after realising that asking for permission to do something nice doesn’t always work, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and take action.
Today, I helped around a friends house with some cleaning, Christmas present wrapping, gardening and laundry as they’ve been struggling to keep up with all that life has thrown at them recently. It helps my friend not feel so snowed under and has given me the benefit of feeling good for helping. It’s important though, to not expecting anything in return, make the offer to be kind without expectation of reciprocation.
My advice is to look for opportunities to help someone else wherever you can for example:
- Friends garden looking overgrown? Help them take care of it
- Friend sick? Make some soup and bring it over
- Stressful time at work? Freeze some dinners or bake some goods
- See someone struggling? Offer to help in whatever way will be beneficial to them
- Someone need to talk? Just sit and listen. Active listening is a skill that takes practice.