My entire perspective changed with a small act of kindness. A complete stranger, as her good deed for the day, paid for my meal at the McDonald’s drive thru a few weeks ago. She didn’t know what I was ordering, I could have ordered food for 10 people for all she knew. But, that lady paying for my $6 hash brown and coffee that morning, it made me realise there are good people on this planet, and I wanted to be one of them.
I had one goal this year – it’s been stuck on my wall since January, directly at eye level, so it’s impossible for me to forget it, just two simple words. Be kind.
A little blasé, yes, but unachievable? No. In the last few weeks I have really put this into practice, not just being kind to others, but kind to my body, my health and my mind. Instead of waking up and instantly checking Instagram, I’ll just lay in bed and appreciate the things I’m grateful for, like having a roof over my head and the luxury of having a car that gets me from point A to B every morning.
Whilst we’re on the path of clichés, my goal to be kind has taken me on a journey of finding myself, what I believe in and who I am as a person. In doing so, I realised that it’s not the things you have that define you, whether it be the newest car, the latest designer handbag or the most recent iPhone. With the amount of time we spend on our phones, does it really matter how aesthetic our Instagram feed looks? When we’re gone, will people say “wow, such a shame – her Instagram feed was sick!”. I really, truly hope not…
I have fallen victim to caring too much about how my Instagram looks, and that was a big part of myself that was frustrating. When, in reality, who cares what my social media looks like? I’m 20 years old and in the midst of finding myself, experiencing the major highs and severe lows that life has to give, so why am I spending my time trying to please my Instagram followers with a satisfying caption?
With this incredible platform, and without caring about the aesthetics of how it looks, I want to use the space and the reach I have, however big or small it may be, to share the positive changes in my life. I’ve been listening to podcasts and reading motivational books that have had such an impact on me, and if I’m going to be spending so much unnecessary time on social media, I may as well be making the most of it by deciding to use it in a healthy way. By not wishing my life was like that of influencers who are paid to travel the world, but admiring their success and making achievable goals of my own, inspired by these people.
My goal to be kind started with the idea of just being mindful of others, being kind to my friends and family, colleagues, people I see on the street or in the supermarket. Now, I’ve realised that kindness is a lot more than that. It’s being mindful of the food I put in my body, keeping a positive mindset towards myself and being more cautious of the waste I’m putting out into the environment – simple changes that have made the world of difference to my outlook on life and the impact it has on everyone and everything around me. My gut tells me I’m headed in the right direction for change, and my mind seems to agree.
Taking the time to do things I love, like writing this article, going to a pilates class or reading some magazines and listening to music. Cutting out anything that doesn’t bring me joy and being both selfless and selfish on my way to happiness. Not loving your job? Change it. Not a fan of the degree you’re studying? Find a different passion. The changes I’m making in my life don’t by any means make me perfect. Just because I invested in metal straws and reusable bags doesn’t mean I’m a changed woman. Posting positive messages on Instagram doesn’t make me an angel. I’m still the same anxious mess I always have been with many flaws, but with a few minor tweaks of improvement. So, who am I now? Good question! I still have no flippin’ clue – what I do know is that I like where I’m heading, and that’s the most important thing.
If you can take anything away from this muster of thoughts, I think it is to try and be grateful for what you have and who you are, remember to look after yourself, as well as those close to you, set realistic goals for yourself and take inspiration from the people you admire, without falling into a rut of jealousy.
Be kind to yourself, and each other. I’ll be shouting the meal of the next person behind me in the drive-thru, and hopefully it has an impact on them, like it did on me.
Until next time,