With all the snow around Europe this week normal life has been challenging to maintain. It’s at times like this that people begin to look after each other. There are stories flying around of people getting together to shovel snow, checking in on the elderly and helping the homeless. It warms the heart. But it also makes me wonder why is it only in disaster we help each other? Recently I have had an avid (and rare) tv watching spurt following my new favourite Call the Midwife. What I particularly love about it is the community stories. It reminds me of my Grandparents of how they described the world. It also reminds me of my childhood growing up in North Wales in the late 70s. There is a sense that people really cared about each other, not just in times of trouble but everyday. Now of course this may be a case of the rose tinted glasses, but in my experience the older I have got the less I see the caring community that made the world a nicer place to be.
However I am not one to sit and complain about something without taking action. Just because I can’t see something doesn’t mean it can’t exist. In the days of yore (or atleast the 70’s so yore-ish), we had a social structure that supported caring and supported community. Today that still exists in schools, sometimes in smaller villages or charitable initiatives where within the social structure the norm is to look after each other. However if you are in a bustling city, isolated in the countryside or even just live in a street where people don’t talk to each other, you are naturally aligned to not caring about the people around as they don’t seem to care about you. However it doesn’t have to be like this. I have moved a lot in my lifetime and one of the things I have learnt is that you have to put energy into caring for others if you want them to care about you. Showing someone you care, makes them feel more inclined to do something nice for someone else and thus a chain reaction of caring can start. It takes just one person one kind action to make the world a better place, why shouldn’t that person be you?
So I have a question for you this weekend what can you do to make the world a more caring place? Be the change you want to see. If you want the world to be more caring then you need to send your caring energy into the world. The good news is caring is easy, it doesn’t cost anything and will always make the world a better place to be. And if you are not sure what you can do here are a few tried and tested ideas to get you started.
In the countryside people still greet each other even when they aren strangers. Does it have to be any different in a city. Say hello to neighbours, the people waiting every day at your bus stop or the people who are in your office who you don’t know. A simple Good morning can be an opening to connect with another person and makes people feel noticed and valued. Make the effort to be nice to people and the world will feel like a nicer place.
Now I don’t mean be nosy but taking the time to have a little a chat with the person on the bus could change your day and theirs. In London last year I stuck a conversation with an old lady sitting next to me on a bench. I had some time, she had some stories she didn’t have anyone to tell so we shared 10 mins together chatting together. It was a lovely moment in my trip and she said it made her day. By being curious and connecting with other people we enrich our world.
In welsh we have a phrase gwenwch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd – ‘Do the little things in life’ – The little things are what makes the world go round. Look for the opportunity to do something nice for someone else. Whether it’s a family member or colleague or even a complete stranger. Kindness can be big or small. You could ask if an elderly neighbour needs something from the shops, buy a coffee for a friend at work or just hold the door for someone. It doesn’t take time to be kind.
Bring people together
Community is something that is fragmented in modern western society. I can remember in my childhood holding street parties these days in many countries the idea is unthinkable. Why is it now so hard to talk to our neighbour? Or even the people we see everyday. LAst year I was in a college class in Denmark where no-one could get along even though we saw and worked together everyday. So I held a clothes swop afternoon. We all brought our old clothes and swopped. It was a little thing but it brought people together and got them talking. My step mother rallied the street to shovel the snow so that meals on wheels could get to the elderly. Sharing food, things, doing something for a common goal or simply having fun together, makes the foundation for a caring community. It just take one person to start the ball rolling.
Now I am not talking about financially, I mean helping out. And that doesn’t mean waiting until you are asked. Look for opportunities to help. Maybe you have to take some rubbish to the tip, why not ask your neighbours if they have anything you can take for them. Helping others is a powerful thing to do, for them and you. If you have extra time then volunteering is always a wonderful gift, however equally wonderful is helping someone walking your way with their bags, giving a homeless person a warm drink, or down the stairs with a pram. We all have something we can give that will improve someone else’s life.
If we all want to live in a better world, looking out for each other is a big step towards improvement. When we care about the people around us, we make the world better . And if we are making the world a better place to be , no matter how our life situation is, or how worried we are about the state of Trump’s trade wars or Brexit we know in ourselves that we have done something we can be proud when we go to sleep at night. Forget the good old days and make today a good day by taking that extra step outside of your comfort zone and take the opportunity to care for someone else today and see how easy it is for you to change the world for the better
Have a happy weekend <3