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View as: GRID LIST

NICENESS ISN’T WEAKNESS

1
Today is World Kindness Today. Now I know there are a tonne of these special ’days’ we’re meant to acknowledge; from ’Donut Day’ to ’Smile Day’ to ’National Cat Day.’ Most of these I ignore, the cynic in me thinking that someone probably invented them to sell something. But World Kindness Day? That’s something I can get behind.

In our office we have a brilliant Anthony Burrill print that shouts ’WORK HARD & BE NICE TO PEOPLE,’ & I love it, because I believe in both those things. I love the word ’nice.’ Some people hate it, but I

SelfishMother.com
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feel it needs reclaiming. Being nice or kind isn’t sappy. It is empowering.

The kinder you are to others, the better you feel inside, but also – importantly – the more it spreads. It doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover, or not share your real thoughts. It’s about having empathy, treating people how you’d like to be treated.

I love random acts of kindness: giving or receiving them. Like, giving a friend an item of clothing just because it looks great on them. Or giving a homeless person not just loose change, but a sleeping bag and some food.

SelfishMother.com
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Or when someone brings in a cake for the office, when its no-one’s birthday. Or the time a woman randomly complemented me for how I looked after my son on a train. And, I still remember the look of joy on a 80-something lady’s face when I once told her I loved her lipstick. (She then told me I should never pull a granny-shopper behind me as it would ’pull on my womb.’ Which I thought brilliant but random.)

Being nice or kind makes connections. It brings a warm glow. It makes both you and the person you are dishing out kindness to, just a little

SelfishMother.com
4
bit more happy. And aren’t we junkies for happiness? Niceness isn’t weakness. Yes, we all have our off-moments, when we could have acted better. Because kindness doesn’t always come naturally. But practise kindness and it becomes a way of life – the hit of guilt telling us when we haven’t hit the mark.

Growing up, kindness was something that was drilled into me. Not only on Sundays at church, but in our household 24/7. Looking back, I see that my parents were (and are) good examples to me. They didn’t gossip about other people. They did go out of

SelfishMother.com
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their way to help others; from the guy who used to come to our door & get free food. Or the old-lady we visited who lived in an odd-smelling flat. Or the people my dad was often doing favours for – driving them to the hospital, or fixing something in their house.

Kindness wasn’t something they did to get something back. It wasn’t about monetary recompense or karma. It was simply a way of life. And as a result, this feels ingrained in me. As I said, kindness spreads. We can but do our best. And sometimes we don’t get it right. But at least if we

SelfishMother.com
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practise being nice, we’re making the effort and keeping kindness at the forefront of our minds.

And I think that’s why, when I saw all the nasty comments this weekend on the gossip forum, and also the comments about comments on people’s Instagram feeds this week – people slagging off others all over the place (some with vitriol & pious belief that others were ’fair game’ and they were in the fact the righteous)… it just made me feel really sad.

Because gossip and vindictiveness spreads just like kindness does… and let’s not forget

SelfishMother.com
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that, just how I watched my parents, our children are watching us. Why can’t we all practise kindness? We can be nice and talk intelligently. We can be kind and have opinions. One doesn’t negate the other. We can spread good vibes instead of bad vibes. And I know which world I’d prefer to live in.
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Molly Gunn

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- 13 Nov 19

Today is World Kindness Today. Now I know there are a tonne of these special ‘days’ we’re meant to acknowledge; from ‘Donut Day’ to ‘Smile Day’ to ‘National Cat Day.’ Most of these I ignore, the cynic in me thinking that someone probably invented them to sell something. But World Kindness Day? That’s something I can get behind.

In our office we have a brilliant Anthony Burrill print that shouts ‘WORK HARD & BE NICE TO PEOPLE,’ & I love it, because I believe in both those things. I love the word ‘nice.’ Some people hate it, but I feel it needs reclaiming. Being nice or kind isn’t sappy. It is empowering.

The kinder you are to others, the better you feel inside, but also – importantly – the more it spreads. It doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover, or not share your real thoughts. It’s about having empathy, treating people how you’d like to be treated.

I love random acts of kindness: giving or receiving them. Like, giving a friend an item of clothing just because it looks great on them. Or giving a homeless person not just loose change, but a sleeping bag and some food. Or when someone brings in a cake for the office, when its no-one’s birthday. Or the time a woman randomly complemented me for how I looked after my son on a train. And, I still remember the look of joy on a 80-something lady’s face when I once told her I loved her lipstick. (She then told me I should never pull a granny-shopper behind me as it would ‘pull on my womb.’ Which I thought brilliant but random.)

Being nice or kind makes connections. It brings a warm glow. It makes both you and the person you are dishing out kindness to, just a little bit more happy. And aren’t we junkies for happiness? Niceness isn’t weakness. Yes, we all have our off-moments, when we could have acted better. Because kindness doesn’t always come naturally. But practise kindness and it becomes a way of life – the hit of guilt telling us when we haven’t hit the mark.

Growing up, kindness was something that was drilled into me. Not only on Sundays at church, but in our household 24/7. Looking back, I see that my parents were (and are) good examples to me. They didn’t gossip about other people. They did go out of their way to help others; from the guy who used to come to our door & get free food. Or the old-lady we visited who lived in an odd-smelling flat. Or the people my dad was often doing favours for – driving them to the hospital, or fixing something in their house.

Kindness wasn’t something they did to get something back. It wasn’t about monetary recompense or karma. It was simply a way of life. And as a result, this feels ingrained in me. As I said, kindness spreads. We can but do our best. And sometimes we don’t get it right. But at least if we practise being nice, we’re making the effort and keeping kindness at the forefront of our minds.

And I think that’s why, when I saw all the nasty comments this weekend on the gossip forum, and also the comments about comments on people’s Instagram feeds this week – people slagging off others all over the place (some with vitriol & pious belief that others were ‘fair game’ and they were in the fact the righteous)… it just made me feel really sad.

Because gossip and vindictiveness spreads just like kindness does… and let’s not forget that, just how I watched my parents, our children are watching us. Why can’t we all practise kindness? We can be nice and talk intelligently. We can be kind and have opinions. One doesn’t negate the other. We can spread good vibes instead of bad vibes. And I know which world I’d prefer to live in.

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Molly Gunn

Molly Gunn is the Curator of Goodness at Selfish Mother, a site she created for likeminded women in 2013. Molly has been a journalist for over 15 years, starting out on fashion desks at The Guardian, The Telegraph & ES Magazine before going freelance in 2006 to write for publications including Red, Stella, Grazia, Net-A-Porter and ELLE. She now edits Selfish Mother and creates #GoodTees which are sold via TheFMLYStore.com and John Lewis and have so far raised £650K for charity. Molly is mother to Rafferty, 5, Fox, 3 and baby Liberty. Molly is married to Tom, aka music producer Tee Mango and founder of Millionhands. They live, work and play in Somerset.

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