By: Andrienne Kennedy
“As you get older, you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, one for helping others.” - Audrey Hepburn
Last year was a pivotal year for me. I was 39, and really started thinking about my 40th birthday which would be coming around in May 2018. I knew at that point there were some major changes that I wanted to make before I welcomed my 40th birthday. My mental health and stability were my top priority. I decided that to really get serious and make this thing work I would need to find a therapist that I could go and see regularly, as well as get back on my meds. This was it: the decision had been made and there was no turning back. April 1, 2017 was my 1st appointment with my current therapist who I am so grateful for. I have made so much progress under her care.
By the time the holiday season came rolling around, I had been with my therapist for 7 months. I was well on my way to stability, and it was good. But during that time, something awakened in me. It was the need to serve and help others. For so many years, I was not myself, and I attributed that to my untreated illness. Even after I had received my diagnosis I was so busy focusing on bipolar disorder and if people were going to call me crazy or not.
I was determined not to dwell on the illness. I was going to focus on getting better and being stable. I can vividly remember on one January afternoon being outside in the frigid weather and thinking, “I know there is someone that could use my help”. I contacted one of my closest friends who works in a school and asked if I could donate a couple of coats to students at the school.
She happily agreed and sent me all the information that I needed to make this happen. I felt a sense of happiness and pride that I was doing something for someone who truly needed the help and would be grateful at the gesture. For me, it was not about receiving any thanks or praise; it was about showing my gratitude and knowing that I could make someone’s day a little better. That thought made me truly happy.
It’s cool to be kind. It feels good when you do a kind thing for someone, just because, with no expectations. I can honestly say that this instance made me think about a couple of things: the meaning of the holidays, kindness makes the giver and receiver feel good, and kindness creates a sense of peace.
As we are approaching World Kindness Day, I urge you to think about how you can make someone’s day better with just a small act of kindness. I encourage anyone to share a little kindness whenever you can; it can really make someone’s day and may change their life. Not only will you make someone else’s day, but you will also feel good about yourself and think less about your problems. So give it a try. Kindness is so cool. How will you be celebrating World Kindness Day this year?