Kindness is… all around

by Isabel Valle
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kindness girlIsabel Valle is an accredited ICF PCC Coach, Leadership Mentor and Facilitator currently based in Bangkok. Isabel has held senior positions within the hospitality industry in countries around the world, and facilitates a holistic approach to leadership, growth and success. She specialises in virtual coaching and online mentoring that inspires action and helps leaders from all walks of life around the globe bring their gifts to life to help them create professional excellence and personal fulfilment.

More information available on www.isabelvalle.com

The world is a scary place. Global warming, poverty, inequality, safety and security concerns, wars… we see it everywhere, all the time. Bad news continues to dominate the headlines, which make us feel like we are  living terrible times. It is common  knowledge that the media tends to focus on the overly negative happenings, spreading fear and causing us to feel disconnected from other human beings.

What is also true, is the fact that news are made for the mass population, which is used to thinking negatively, and therefore crave more of it. Our minds are so trained to think and talk about the problems of the world, that breaking that habit seems like a very daunting task.

kindness white flower

“The more we concentrate on positive thoughts and feelings, more becomes available. So if you want to change your reality, you need to change your thoughts.”

But life is a balance, and if there is  negative, there must be positive as well. Life is a frame of mind. Have you ever heard: “What you focus on, grows”? or as Tony Robbins puts it: “Where focus goes, energy flows”. In other words, whatever you focus on is what you get; negative or positive. So focus on the positive and you will bring more positive into your life.

pink roses

If you really want to feel better, think more positively and enjoy life at its best, you need to focus your attention on feeling better and thinking better. You need to intentionally put your attention on better feelings, like gratitude, kindness and hope. The more we concentrate on positive thoughts and feelings, more becomes available. So if you want to change your reality, you need to change your thoughts.

Many of us live life as if things are happening to us, and act as if we have no control over what happens. Ideally, you need to stop worrying about what you don’t do, what you don’t have and isn’t working. If life crumbles all around you, I can assure you that it won’t get better by putting all of your attention on the crumbling.

For your life to get better, you must focus on what you want to have and put your attention and energy there. So focus on what you want to create for yourself, what you already have that is wonderful, and appreciate it and be thankful for it.

Hug

When it comes to it, you do have a choice. What you choose to focus on is ultimately your choice and your choice alone. It may not be easy to do at first, yet with some consistency and commitment, it will get easier. The more you do it, the easier it becomes – all our talents and abilities improve with practise.

So, if you don’t like where you are, you can basically change it. You can choose to take responsibility for creating your life, for making your own choices and for creating the results that you want.

Kindness is scattered all around us. We walk through it every day and yet we ignore it. Sometimes, it may take an out of the ordinary event for us to take notice. But if you were to focus on the act of kindness itself, you would realise that there is no lack of kindness in this world.

As a coach, global citizen, and someone who has lived and travelled the world for over two decades now, I choose to see the world, and people living in it, in its vast majority, as a kind and beautiful place. If you know where to look, and choose to look at it with wonder and possibilities, you can truly come to experience the beauty that life has to offer. And I believe in the power of kindness to change the way people see and experience the world.

Being kind means being friendly, generous, and considerate. To be affectionate, gentle, warm, caring and concerned for others. Being kind can strengthen your relationships and sense of satisfaction in life. Darwin believed that we are a profoundly social and caring species, and that sympathy and caring for others is instinctual (DiSalvo, Scientific American, 2017).

kindness friends

Current research also supports this idea. Science has shown that devoting resources to others, rather than having more and more for yourself, brings about lasting wellbeing. Kindness has also been found by researchers to be the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage. Kindness is not just about being kind to others, but also being kind to yourself. So let me ask you: Do you treat yourself kindly? Do you speak gently and kindly to yourself and take good care of yourself? There are many ways to be kind, and many different opportunities to practice.

You may notice when someone is going through a tough time and offer a kind word, a smile, and even offer to help in any way you can. It is as simple as opening a door for someone, helping carry a heavy load, give an honest compliment or thanking someone.

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It could be telling someone they are special to you, helping an elderly neighbour, a tired mother, or even donating old clothing and things you don’t need. When it comes to kindness options, you are spoilt for choice. I believe that things always happen for a reason, even if you don’t realise it at the time. This is exactly what happened to me.

In the last 12 months, I could tell you so many different occasions where people have done random acts of kindness to me and my family. I really can’t complain, I am a very lucky person, and I feel so grateful for all of you that came to help and support me when you saw me in need and lent a hand.

“Science has shown that devoting resources to others, rather than having more and more for yourself, brings about lasting wellbeing.”

Last year, in quite an unexpected turn of events, my husband was forced to leave Thailand and his family behind, venturing into a new project located on an island in Vietnam, which is only now starting to develop. Due to its lack of infrastructure and facilities, we were unable to follow my husband, as we typically do. So the kids and I remained in Thailand, the place we get to call our home for the last 2 years now. At first, this was not an easy transition. I found myself struggling with so many things – logistical and otherwise – and so many emotions. But let me assure you, it is thanks to the amazing people that I meet everywhere, that myself and my family have been able to transition and adapt to our new way of life.

kindness tree

I simply wouldn’t have enough space to thank all of the people that came to my rescue, whether they knew it or not. By reaching out, caring, listening and lending a helping hand; they made my life so much easier, and helped me conquer the struggles I was faced with. Because there are kind people everywhere; people who make the choice to show up for someone else, to be kind and considerate, to do good.

I specifically want to share with you an act of kindness that simply puts all of my efforts to date to shame. Last year, I found myself stuck in Saigon, where I was trying to get a visa for myself and my children to come back to Thailand. Unfortunately, when we booked our trip, we didn’t realise that the late King’s burial would coincide with our travels, and that all the Thai embassies would be closed. We had already been delayed 2 days, and were trying to get back home as soon as possible.

We were the first family to arrive at the embassy, and it came to us as a surprise to be notified that we could only pay for the embassy’s services in US dollars, which we didn’t have. This inconvenience would suppose having to leave the embassy, find an ATM, find a Currency Exchange (which were not available nearby), and get back on the very long line of people that were in our same situation.

It was one of those moments when you feel like it is all too much to handle, and I was resigned to have to stay in Vietnam a lot longer than anticipated, which meant additional costs, new flights back home, my children missing school – very tired and grumpy kids, and myself having to handle it all on my own as my husband had to return back to the island for work… Frankly, it all felt a bit too much to handle.

And then this lady, out of nowhere, approached us at the embassy and gave us US $500 so we could pay
first time she herself was caught out in the same position. We simply couldn’t believe that someone would be so kind as to help us out that way. My husband asked her how she could trust us to pay her back, and she simply said: “I can see it in your faces; you are nice people and I know that you will do the right thing”.

I still get emotional every time I think about this incredibly kind and caring lady, who saw us in need and didn’t hesitate to lend a hand. Needless to say, we transferred the full amount back to her that afternoon, and extended an invitation for her to visit us in the future.

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New hurdles continue to show up constantly – and just as they do – someone turns up at the right moment, to tell me the right thing I need to hear, to hold my hand, to let me vent, and to help me figure out what I need to do next to continue to move forward. Friends and strangers alike, who, despite their busy lives, take a moment to connect and care for me, check that I am OK, give me a hug when I need it, and go out of their way to be there for me, to help me… I am a lucky person indeed.

Because without these random acts of kindness, I know that this chapter in my life would have been so much harder. And it doesn’t take much to notice someone, to ask if they are OK, to be there for them, to show that you care. I cannot tell you how many times I try to help others and I am met with resistance and mistrust.

If you only let others help you, and you help others as well, this world will be a much better place. It doesn’t matter where you live, or who you come across, kindness is all around. So look in the right places and you will be marvelled by the true and kind nature in people. Never stop believing that kindness is all around, and watch the world become a much better place.

A smile from someone tells us that they are happy to see us. A tear speaks volumes about how much you’ll be missed. These are acts of kindness that allow us to witness that goodness exists everywhere, that fellow humans still care for each other without any ulterior motive. Let’s not ignore it. If you pay attention to these random acts of kindness in your daily lives, life won’t appear to be such a scary place.

Hand

There are so many good things in our lives – way more good things than bad – but all we talk about and worry about are all the problems. We must stop torturing ourselves and start talking about the good stuff and ignore the bad. We may just notice miracles popping up everywhere. It is a proven thing, thoughts and words are energy. Start creating good energy by telling a good story.
Here’s to your success!

Isabel x

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