In November, I attended a Christian conference with a couple of friends. The speakers were inspiring and I took lots of notes so that I would not forget key messages. However, one of the phrases that did stick in my mind and keeps coming back to me is this: kindness given without expectation is powerful.

Just as I opened my computer today, the first email to ping in was from a famous department store. The subject of the email was “Boost your wellbeing in 2020." It had a list of 20 ways to do that. Of course, I was immediately drawn in. I mean who doesn’t want to improve their wellbeing especially with the excesses of Christmas still sitting on the waistline. Trying to skim past the adverts with photos of waistlines that I will never achieve, some of the words in number 18, the “Think Positive” section, caught my eye. I read that “Practising gratitude is shown to improve self-esteem, reduce stress and build resilience in difficult times.”

This made me think that although it may not come naturally to all of us to say a kind word or to do a kind deed, with practice, we can learn to be kind. This must mean that we can all do our bit to cultivate kindness and influence the culture of our communities so that they can be ones of mutual love and support.

Studies have shown that people who do voluntary work or regularly care for others are happier and less depressed. Caring can be as simple as reaching out to someone who looks lonely or sad. It can be a kind word that conveys compassion. Even just saying “good morning” with a smile to a stranger you pass in the street might brighten someone’s day.

Usually we think of kindness as behaviour towards others but it is also something we should do to ourselves. To have the power of kindness we ought to also be kind to ourselves and do things that feed the soul. When we have the self-esteem from knowing that we are loved then we can love and demonstrate kindness to others.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone we met felt better for meeting us. That really would prove the power of kindness.

Galatians 5 v22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.