Choosing kindness

Earlier in the week I read a beautiful article about choosing kindness.

For me, it was a very apt read given a scenario I am currently facing. I feel like as women and mother’s, we take the world on our shoulders. Wanting to do the best for our partners, our children, our extended families that very often we neglect ourselves. I’ve seen it time and time again with women around me. Sacrificing our desires for those we love.

Very often when I am faced with a certain situation, I find myself being much harsher on myself than I would if a friend came to me for advice in the same situation. Reading this article reminded me of how important it is to choose kindness. But not just in the way we behave with others, but in the way we treat ourselves.

We can choose to be kind in almost every moment of our day: holding the door open for someone, greeting a shop clerk with a smile, saying thank you to the bus driver, interacting with our family, even looking in the mirror. Throughout the day we have ample opportunity to choose kindness and it doesn’t cost us anything.

wpid-kindness-quotes-the-smallest-act-of-kindness-is-worth-more-than-the-grandest-intention

And what goes hand in hand with kindness, is gratitude. About 90 days ago, I started the 100 happy days project on Instagram. The idea is to upload an image a day that brought me happiness. More recently, Dino Daswani of Dino’s words of wisdom blog started an online gratitude thread. He’s encouraged people from around the world to name one thing they are grateful for each day. So often we can name many things we’re grateful for: our family, good health, wealth, friends, etc. But gratitude is not just about recognising what we are grateful for but rather practicing what we are grateful for. And practicing making choices to be a better person.

Essentially none of us are bad people, but often because of our egos and our fears, we do and say negative things. We think the worst of people, we doubt people and eventually muddy our own peace of mind. I’ve been at the receiving end of some unkindness recently but rather than ask “why?”, going forward I’ll be choosing kindness wherever I can because in order to change the world, we need to first change ourselves.

Advertisements

The kindness of strangers

Is it just me or does the weather have a real impact on people in this city? For the last week, the sun has been shining down on us Londoners…hallelujah!! I’m almost afraid to talk about it for fear of jinxing it BUT one thing you must know about all Londoners is that they LOVE to talk about the weather.

“Oh it’s such a nice day, isn’t it?”
“Oohh it’s so cold out, I can’t wait to get home this evening”
“This rain is just awful, I can’t wait for the summer!”
“Apparently the weather is going to be nice this weekend, any plans?”
“We had such a mild winter this year, apparently we’re going to have a horrible summer.”

And many, many more. Shop assistants, tube station assistants, random people waiting outside the library, everyone talks about the weather here and since moving to London last year, I find myself doing the same.

PhotoGrid_1394924247179

Anyway, I digress. The point of this post is to say thank you to the lovely lady and her kind gesture yesterday. Let me set the scene. S and I were hanging out at this open play area place and the weather was so beautiful (the sun was shining down on us), lots of moms and their kids were hanging out and everyone was in a pretty happy mood. There was a little girl eating some dairy lea dunkers and she dropped all her bread sticks. As she started picking them up, S was observing her. I guess he hovered around her wandering what she was eating but then a few seconds later went back to playing. After a few minutes the mom came over to get her and also handed us a new dairy lea dunkers packet saying “Here you go, he can have this, I have lots with me.” To be perfectly honest, I was a little taken aback at first. S wasn’t really hungry, just curious but more than that, we haven’t had many moms walk across a play area to offer us a snack.

I’m sure she’s always as sweet but I’m definitely seeing a change in people in this weather. So Dear London, please try and stick with spring before everyone turns into grumpy sods again!

When it’s time, it’s time…

I woke up to some very sad news today. A close friends brother in law passed away in a car accident last night. It’s not that I knew him (I’d met him once a few years ago) but he left behind a wife and 4 year old son. What saddens me is the family would never have got to say goodbye. It was so sudden.

Later in the morning I read a headline about Michael Schumacher. Michael who is one of the worlds best race car drivers has been in an induced coma for over 2 months after suffering from a head injury while skiing in the French alps and chances of him making a full recovery are slim. He’s spent years driving Formula 1 cars and yet what’s hurt him is not racing but actually just going on holiday.

Days like this remind me how much I have to be grateful for and also reiterate to me how important it is to be happy. To live a life that brings me joy through my days. To let go of negativity in my life and replace it with happiness – be it people, thoughts or situations.

images-70

I truly believe God has a plan for all of us. As morbid as it sounds, we don’t know how long we’re going to be around for. Our birth and our death are the only things we can’t plan. What we can choose is how to spend the days in between.

images

Happy New Year

To say 2013 has been a rollercoaster of a year is an understatement. In my 30 years, I think this one ranks as the most difficult year of my life. It has tested me and hurt me, pulled me apart and hung me out to dry…BUT it has also taught me so much I needed to learn. So here goes my list:

1. Gratitude – My gosh has this year taught me gratitude. For everything I have but more importantly for EVERYONE I have. I am truly blessed with a great family and amazing friends. Without whom I wouldn’t have gotten through this year. You guys know exactly who you are, thank you!! Thank you for putting a smile on my face šŸ™‚

993514_441171592649892_22720090_n

2. Patience – All those mama’s out there will know, the transition from baby to toddler tests your patience beyond belief. That little dependent child who looks to you for their every need suddenly has their own desires and wants and boy do they want to exert their new found independence.

1486707_10152189187314703_23827638_n

3. Strength – As the famous song lyrics go: I get knocked down, but I get up again, ’cause you never gonna keep me down.” 2013 has shown me my inner strength, my strength as a woman and my strength as a mother.

993470_772336566116411_1890671262_n

4. Love – No matter what life throws at you, we all have the capacity to love. My dad is a fan of Neale Donald Walsh and we used to have many of his sayings framed going up our staircase at home. One of them that stood out the most at the base of the stairs was “What would love do now?” and that’s a question I’ve asked myself many times this year. When faced with a situation that you don’t like or one that angers or upsets you, ask yourself “What would love do now?” And then react. Love is our greatest capacity.

5. Forgiveness – During our lives there will be people who love us, comfort us and treasure us. But there will also be people who hurt us, upset us and anger us. One of the greatest things we can do to those people (for our self) is toĀ forgive them. Because when you forgive, you let go and stop holding on to all those negative emotions (which essentially only hurt you).

This year I’m not making any resolutions butĀ I am going to do one thing and that is this:

1560460_10151911383798460_1459701038_n

I’m also going to be taking part in 52/52, a portrait a week in 2014.Ā So look out for some really cute pictures šŸ˜‰

From my family to yours, wishing you an amazing start to the new year. May all your dreams be realised and all your wishes come true.

Mums' Days

Story of Mum

I recently came across a site called Story of Mum which I love. They have all sorts of ways for moms to get involved and provide you with lots of creative ideas andĀ channels to share your story.

0ead011bce75a82558462a1ebc5a8a9c

 

But one I loved the most was this one. Write one sentence describing what has made you happy each day for a week, then share them here. So here it goes:

Monday 7th October

Seeing S happily settling into his firstĀ morning atĀ nursery with no tears.

Tuesday 8th October

An amazing business proposal came my way

Wednesday 9th October

Listening to Sam, my brother,Ā imitating his clearing agent. If you ever need a laugh…

Thursday 10th October

Watching s laugh hysterically in the car, while I make funny faces

Friday 11th October

Hanging out with friends I haven’t spent time with in years, catching up on old memories

Saturday 12th October

Taking a quick walk through Ikoyi Club – a family club I practically grew up in – so many happy memories and having dinner with my family.

Sunday 13th October

My darlingĀ  boy – everyday he does something funny, silly and cute. Almost everyday he also tests my patience but seeing him grow and watching him learn new things everyday makes me so very happy.

What makes you happy?

Love, Actually is all around us

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you my all time favourite movie is Love Actually. I am totally obsessed in love with it. I can’t remember how many times I’ve watched it but it still gets me every time. And of course one of my favourite quotes is:

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinionā€™s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I donā€™t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often itā€™s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but itā€™s always there ā€“ fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge ā€“ they were all messages of love. If you look for it, Iā€™ve got a sneaky feeling youā€™ll find that love actually is all around.”

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Often when we’re going through a tough time in our lives we tend to focus on the negative and all the doom and gloom going on in the world. Syria is being bombed, woman are being raped in India,Ā people shoplifting right infront of me,Ā etc. The list is endless. And while it is important to be realistic and empathetic about what is going on in the world, I think we need to stop and look for the good. Look around us and see all the positives.

A few weeks ago I was walking home from the park with my mom and S and he was playing with her wallet. As soon as I thought I saw him open it, I took it off him. Turns out he’d opened it once already and dropped her license (we didn’t realise!). But two days later an envelope comes in the post for my mom and it’s her license. Someone picked it up and as our address is on it, took the time to post it back.

Today I was walking home from the park and I saw the below picture stuck on the front gate of the park.

20130830_171223

These are just two examples but I see so many all around me. People trying to help. A car stopping so I can cross the road with my son, a bus driver letting me have a free ride when I can’t find my oyster card, a man helping me lift S’s stroller up some stairs.

If we stop for just five minutes we may find that Love, Actually is all around usĀ  šŸ™‚

eca30b2f3af6023094b1cb871a4c381b

Share the Joy linky at bodfortea.co.uk