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Cultivating Kindness

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A couple of days ago, a friend of mine sent me this story from the lovely Arthur K Richards, and as if by some strange stroke of divine luck, I saw it on my walk to work. Let me just say, that set me up for the day in a way I didn’t think it would. I remember reading it and re-reading it and thinking, “he’s onto something here, this could really work.” 

Now, the thing is, I’m generally a pretty awkward human. Admittedly, I am brimming with fake confidence on most occasions, especially at work, but I don’t really go out of my way to exercise this confidence. But I’d decided that on this day, come what may, I would speak to each and every single one of my colleagues and tell them something nice about themselves because let’s be honest, a random compliment off a stranger hits you a million times more than those from a loved one. We tend to assume that our loved ones tell us nice things for the sake of it rather than from a genuinely good place whereas strangers seem to have no apparent ulterior motive for being nice but that they want to. It’s a slightly insane way to live life, but let’s be real, we’re all a little crazy here. But, I digress.

It so happened that the day I saw this story was the one we had a staff meeting, and naturally, I was inspired. We have a really cute routine during our meetings wherein each person starts by sharing a bit of naseeha (pure advice | نصيحة ) that they’ve picked up over the week that they think others would benefit from – I used moments throughout this to say kind things to other members of the team, and my God. My God. I cannot even begin to explain the warmth that filled the room. There’s this strange love that seems to suddenly appear between individuals when there is an unspoken awareness of one another’s strengths and redeeming qualities. As though we have all been silently observing each other but too afraid of being open about the reasons why we enjoy each other’s company.

But, I’m ready to change that. I’m ready to cultivate kindness in every single thing we do on every day that passes us by. How, you may ask? Well, dearest brother Arthur has lain the groundwork for us actually (in that screenshot), and now we simply have to work our way up from it. By acknowledging the kinds of things we wish we could have heard about ourselves over the years, we can exercise our best judgement in speaking to the people in our lives. I promise you, even the smallest kind gesture makes the world of a difference. You often spend so long brushing your own self under the carpet that even a single kind word makes you glow and radiate in a way you never thought you could.

If you need some inspiration, I recently came across this post on instagram called “50 compliments that have nothing to do with appearance“, and it is incredible. Here is the list:

  1. I love how your face lights up when you talk about “x”.
  2. Your passion always amazes me.
  3. You inspire me to be a better person.
  4. I appreciate you.
  5. Your smile makes me smile.
  6. I admire your confidence.
  7. The way you carry yourself is admirable.
  8. Your opinion on “x” opened up my eyes to see other perspectives.
  9. Thank you for being trustworthy.
  10. I am proud of you.
  11. I love your fierce heart.
  12. You are so resilient.
  13. You bring out the best in me.
  14. You’re a good listener.
  15. You set such a good example.
  16. You have wonderful sense of humour.
  17. Thank you for being you.
  18. I love your outlook on life.
  19. I appreciate your friendship.
  20. You’re a work of art.
  21. You glow.
  22. I love your authenticity.
  23. I tell my other friends how amazing you are.
  24. You helped me see my worth.
  25. You are enough.
  26. You’re a great story-teller.
  27. You are brave.
  28. You make me feel welcome.
  29. You’re so kind.
  30. Your perspective is refreshing.
  31. You deserve good things.
  32. I am proud of your progress.
  33. You can always make me laugh.
  34. You bring so much joy to my life.
  35. You’re a gift to this world.
  36. I love your spontaneity.
  37. Your happiness is contagious.
  38. What you feel matters.
  39. I’m lucky to know you.
  40. I love you just the way you are.
  41. The world needs more people like you.
  42. You’re so talented at “x”.
  43. You’re so down to earth.
  44. You always make my day.
  45. You’re such a great friend.
  46. You’re so dependable.
  47. You make me feel less alone.
  48. You are unique.
  49. You’re wise beyond your years.
  50. You are worthy.

My loves, may your lives be filled only with people who see past your surface. May you know those who see the good and bad in you and love you all the same. But most of all, my loves, may you see past yourselves and cultivate kindness in all that you do in all the ways you know how

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Ayesha Khanom

Sometimes a teacher, sometimes a student, but mostly caffeinated. This blog is a terrible attempt at writing out my thoughts - think of it as the 'comments, complaints, and suggestions' section of my brain. Nevertheless, I hope that some of these words will find a place in your heart and will stay with you even when I do not. If you'd like to get in touch, send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment on one of these posts and I'll get back to you at the best possible time.

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