It may have become apparent to those of you who have read some of my other blogs that I can, on occasion, be cynical and a bit pessimistic (that occasion being those times where I am awake).
I am self-aware enough to know that this is a defence mechanism that I use to cope with the world, to cope with the pain and loneliness, and the challenges and frustrations it brings me. Over the years it has become my default setting, the first thoughts and impulses I have when presented with virtually anything.
Well, anything aside from dogs, but I defy anyone to not have a positive reaction to a dog.
And it’s not just cynicism and pessimism. On a weekly basis, sometimes it feels like daily, I find myself confronted with situations that evoke anger. Now it is known that whilst anger is a loud, showy, noticeable emotion, it is always motivated by another underlying emotion. For me, most of my anger is created by frustration.
Now for those of you who work with me quite often, you will have seen me get angry, you will have heard my frustrated rants, and witnessed my eyerolling (some of you claim to be able to hear me roll my eyes when speaking with me on the phone). If you have, this means that I trust you. I believe that you will not judge me harshly for these actions. I believe you are a safe space for me to release some of the pressure I feel in a way that is not taking it out on others.
For those of you who perhaps don’t know me that well, who have not spent a lot of time around me, or who have only interacted with me briefly due to my professional role, you may have been unaware of this darker side of me. I am not trying to stroke my own ego when I say that there are a lot of people who think of me as a kind person, a nice person. Even some of the people who know me better will have witnessed this side of me too.
On these occasions, it is not that I am trying to be dishonest or deceitful. It is because, unless I feel the need to release some pressure when I am safely surrounded by people who I know and trust, I choose kindness.
Every day I make the conscious decision to act with kindness and compassion.
Even when faced with rudeness, when other people take out their anger and frustrations on me, when someone treats me as less than.
I choose kindness.
And I invite you to join me.
If choosing kindness when it feels as though the world is against you and trying to provoke the worst reactions from you almost daily, then I ask of you one smaller favour. Once a year, for twenty-four hours, join me in celebrating Random Act of Kindness Day* every 17th February.
*Since 1995, Random Act of Kindness Day has been a call to arms for people to either help or cheer up a random stranger, with selfless acts (large or small) which aim to spread happiness.