We bought this rose-bush last year as a perfect round-topped standard. It was lovely…..for a while. Then it all started to go wrong….
Sexism, ageism, perfectionism, internationalism, terrorism, colourism, corporatism and so on and so on. This list can be as long as the amount of words you can attach to the suffix -ism. There was an item on the UK news yesterday which mentioned that ageism is the most prevalent -ism in our society today. How can we turn this around? Continue reading
Love is such a powerful emotion. Most of us find it easy to love our nearest and dearest – our family and friends – and for some people this is enough in life. They see no need to extend their love outwards from this closed circle. In fact, the thought doesn’t cross their mind at all!
I used to think like this, but now the thought of sharing love to others outwith my little circle crosses my mind all the time. I know it’s God prompting me to act. I believe the first and easiest way to extend love outward from family and friends is to focus on the local community, which has a diversity of layers and avenues to become involved in.
Here are a few things we can all do to show love and kindness to those in our community:
Donate food, toiletries etc. to the local food bank for those who are struggling financially and cannot afford to feed themselves and their children. Don’t donate with judgement in the back of your mind. Just help people who need help and give gratitude to God that you are financially able to do so. We think nothing of spending £10 on a good bottle of wine to take to a family gathering. Include your local community as your family now! I’ve decided to allocate 10% of my weekly food bill to the local food bank. You could, if you prefer, allocate a specific amount each week, say £5 or £10. Do it regularly. Make it a new, positive habit in your life. One added benefit of this is that you will feel good knowing you are making a difference. Not only will you be changing others’ lives; you will be changing yours too!
Treat others respectfully: do not use them for your own gains; think of their good points when they are being difficult; speak well of them to others; walk away if they seem intent on having an argument with you; do not read their private correspondence; give them space; allow them to be the person they are, not the person you want them to be. Treat them as you would like to be treated. In other words,
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” (Exodus 20:16)
Actions speak louder than words:
Be actively helpful: for example, pick up litter from your neighbour’s garden if you know s/he is unable to do so; if someone asks for your help, give it if you are able (this could be simple things like giving directions, opening a door for someone with a pram/in a wheelchair and so on); and that metal gate to the park which squeals and grates each time it is opened or closed – go ahead and grease it so that others will not have to hear it. Actively look around your local community as you walk or drive through. Where is help needed? Can you phone the local refuse department to uplift an old sofa which has been lying on the grass verge for a week? Can you phone the police department to install speed detectors on a local road where cars regularly speed? Can you pester local community groups to do litter picks in your area? If community groups are unaware of problems, how can they be expected to deal with them! That’s where you come in!
I hope this post has given you a few ideas of how to spread love and kindness out to your local community. Please feel free to send in your suggestions. Much love, Anita. 😀
This post is for my #healingwordsthu and is an extract from my book, Acts of Kindness from your Armchair.
Chapter 6, Kind thoughts, words and acts. Practice 7: Kindness traits in action
Look at the kindness traits below. Make a note of each one (*please use free downloadable pdf worksheets to accompany this Practice if you prefer) and beside each one write down any events, however small, where you feel you have made progress in embedding these traits of kindness more deeply in yourself. It may be helpful to have two columns as outlined below with some examples:
Goodwill: I noticed when I was judging a friend unfairly and replaced this with a positive thought.
Benevolence: I joined in a prayer for wisdom for world leaders as they met to discuss a way forward for war-torn Syria.
Charity: When entering a competition, I affirmed to myself that I would give some of the winnings to charity.
Compassion: I watched a tv programme and felt compassion for one of the celebrities who seemed lonely.
Generosity: Upon receiving four small gifts from my sister, I spontaneously offered one each of the gifts to my other sisters.
Humanity: I felt sympathy for people in the world who still have to walk miles to collect water each day. I will no longer waste water.
Kindliness: I played Hunt the Food with the dogs instead of ignoring them to watch tv.
Philanthropy: I bought one of a friend’s paintings to encourage her in her art.
Understanding: I put myself in my husband’s shoes after I had cajoled him about something he hadn’t done and realised that it doesn’t feel good to be the recipient of this.
Other examples of how you have shown kindness traits in action could be: perhaps you have thought more charitably of refugees fleeing for their lives; perhaps you became aware that you were about to say something negative about yourself or others and you stopped yourself and instead remained silent; perhaps you hugged a friend who needed emotional support and so on. Note down the ones which you have experienced. Read this list often, and add to it, and you will be amazed at what kindness your heart is capable of.
“If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him….if a man speaks
or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”
– The Twin Verses, Buddha.
Thoughts create our reality: acts of kindness result from kind words which themselves originate in kind thoughts. The Law of Attraction has fascinated many scholars throughout history from the Buddha to Albert Einstein to Christian Larson (The Optimist’s Creed) and more recently Rhonda Byrne (The Secret, The Magic) to name a few. It proposes that our thoughts create our reality and what we think, say and do will be the reality that we attract back to ourselves at some point. For example, if we think and say that life is unfair, that bad things always happen to us, that we are never lucky and so on these negative thoughts of lack are the reality that we create for ourselves and therefore we will always think of ourselves as a victim in life because it doesn’t go the way we want it to. These thoughts lead us to negative emotional patterns where our lack of success – as we see it – may result in us experiencing bitterness and discontent.
With the support of a Cognitive Behavioural (or Holistic) therapist, we can learn that it is beneficial to think of compassionate alternatives to challenge anxiety and negative thoughts. This gradually leads to much improved mood and motivation. We are retraining ourselves to think more positively and attract a better reality for ourselves. Instead of adopting the victim mentality of: “I will fail, I’m not going to try”, we would say for example: “What is the worst that can happen?” or “It might be fun!” So, be kind. Notice when you are being negative about yourself, acknowledge it when it happens and immediately change the thoughts or words to something positive. Keep practising this and it will eventually become a new automatic mode of behaviour.
I hope you have enjoyed this section of my book, the content of which came from my personal experiences working towards finding new purpose in life through kindness. Om Shanti! Anita.
This post is for Debbie Roth’s #forgivingconnects and my #healingwordsmon and it’s about non-judgement. Today’s poem is an extract from Perfect Reflections (which will appear in my new book).
Show me Your light
In the evil deeds of men
For dost not evil
Merely cover the good in them?
Show me Your light
In hurtful, vengeful words
For dost not pain
Merely cover forgotten love?
Give me the strength, Lord,
To proclaim what is true:
That we are all
Perfect Reflections of You.
– taken from the poem Perfect Reflections by Anita Neilson.
I have to say right up that I have been very judgemental in life. This all began with a childhood habit which grew into an ugly spiritual boil before bursting a few years ago. Only then, could I see my behaviour for what it was – embedded in fear. Fear of difference. But ironically, now I realise that every person we come across is different, unique, and to surround myself in this bubble of fear was only hurting myself. And yet, I choose not to beat myself up over this. I forgive myself for my years of judging on appearances; of laughing at those less pretty or clever than I; of being a little too spoilt for my own good.
Now that’s not to say I don’t struggle with showing love to those who commit acts of evil in the misguided belief that it will bring them the happiness they seek. But they are on their own journey through many lifetimes, just as we are on ours. We’re all at different stages, and who am I to say that my way is the right way? I know that there will be others who compare themselves favourably with my ‘misguided’ standards. It’s such a tricky one this. Yes, show love and understanding to people who do bad things but also speak out if others are being harmed. I’d value your thoughts on this dilemma, because I do battle with this. Anita.