Being Cruel to Be Kind

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (for why it should always be click here) and the theme is being kind. It’s definitely the perfect time to be talking about this topic given what is happening in the world. More than ever it’s important to be kind to each other and it seems like we’re getting the message. Captain Tom has raised nearly £33 million for the NHS, his original pledge was £1000. This is a incredible feat made only more amazing by the fact that he has just celebrated his 100th birthday. Speaking of Tom’s, Tom Hanks replied to a letter he received from a kid whose was being bullied for having the name Corona. He told the boy “You are the only person I’ve ever known to have the name Corona – like the ring around the sun, a crown.” And sent him a corona typewriter asking him to write back.

Kind to Others

Those are just two examples of people being kind to others which have sprouted during the pandemic. But we don’t all have to become involved in grand sweeping gestures. The little things count too or in the words of Tesco: “every little helps”. As I wrote in a previous blog post, the small, everyday kindnesses are often the ones that go unnoticed on the big world stage. But we shouldn’t underestimate the huge impact they can have on a person – to – person basis.

One example of someone doing their bit is Ellie who has founded Corona Cards. She’s recruited a few people to create cards and send them to those who may be isolated or ill or just generally need a bit of cheering up. You can request one for someone else or for yourself. Because being kind doesn’t always mean money and whilst fundraising is hugely important, we can’t underestimate the value of putting a smile on someone’s face.

Being Kind to Ourselves

If there’s a second lesson we have learnt during this pandemic it’s being kind to ourselves. Many of us struggle with this on a daily basis. But, some of us, myself included(!) have decided to use this time at home to focus on being kind to ourselves and investing in some self-care.

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

This is a brilliant use of our time and we can think of this quite broadly. Being kind to ourselves may include investing time in new hobbies, strengthening relationships virtually, taking up new exercise, building new routines and de-cluttering our living space but also our minds.

But a focus on self-kindness right now also comes with it’s own challenges. In some ways it may be easier. We’ve finally got the time to do it, which is often our biggest barrier to self-care. Without the daily commute or pressure to socialize, the ability to run to the shops or do numerous other chores we have time on our hands we can invest elsewhere. Having said this, being stuck at home possibly with others means we may be bumping heads and tempers may flare. It may also be harder to maintain our boundaries and have some time to ourselves when space, rather than time is at a premium.

Being Cruel to Be Kind

If you read my blog post on mental health inspiration from two weeks ago, you’ll be familiar with one of my favourite self-care quotes: “don’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm”. To me this gets to the heart of the matter. It is, in some ways, easier to say ‘yes’ to everyone else but a lot harder to say ‘yes’ to ourselves. And it’s time that changed. Whilst it’s amazing to make yourself available to those around you and spread kindness, we need to ensure that a ‘yes’ to others isn’t a ‘no’ to ourselves.

There must be a balance which allows us to still be the wonderful and giving person that we are. And the sort of mythical person who puts themselves first. Knowing that this is not a selfish act but is in fact the epitome of selflessness. Being ‘cruel’ to others, by sometimes saying ‘no’ or even ‘not right now’ enables us to be kind to ourselves. And this self-kindness gives us the energy and capacity to support those around us. When we find this equilibrium our kindness becomes bi-directional and everybody wins.

So, my challenge for you on this Mental Health Awareness Week is to give this some thought. How can we find the balance of kindness that will nurture both ourselves and others? Can saying no become an act of kindness and empowerment rather than an act of defiance or selfishness?

As always I’d love to hear your thoughts. Whether you’re channelling kindness inwards or outwards let me know how in the comments!

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11 thoughts on “Being Cruel to Be Kind

  1. Ahhh… this post has certainly put a smile on my face… I would say, you alone sharing your energy with the words you have chosen is a form of kindness. Not just for yourself but for those who are reading it. Thank you.
    Also, I 100 percent agree with what you have mentioned, balance is key… sometimes it’s alot easier to be kind to others than to ourselves. I feel, kindness can start from the words we choose to say to ourselves and that alone can have a beautiful butterfly effect into the universe.

  2. I enjoyed reading every bit of this one. This is what I do during this quarantine life. It feels good to be kind to ourself and taking care of ourself first.

  3. Wow that’s such a great expression: don’t set yourself on fire to keep others warm. I often find myself doing this as I’m terrible at saying no to things at work, but I really need to look after myself a bit more. I also loved the Tom Hanks story at the top, it may have even brought a tear to my eye. What a guy. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this blog post.

    You rock!

    I think that showing gratitude and kindness are critical these days. A lot of small business owners, workers, freelancers, gig workers, writers, bloggers, and authors alike are under pressure and feeling anxiety. Heck, I think everyone is a little anxious these days!

    The economic outlook is uncertain for many people across the world. Stressors are high!

    For these reasons, showing gratitude, kindness, and respect has never been more meaningful. By volunteering skills, sharing a kind word, or simply by saying “THANKS”, we can all change the world in ways that may be unimaginably positive.

    A kind word or gesture can make a world of difference. Let’s all change the world – one message, and one show of gratitude at a time!

    Thanks again for sharing this important message!

    I hope that you enjoy a phenomenal day!



  5. What a great post! Your point about being cruel to be kind really resonated with me. It’s easy to say “yes” and look out for everyone else, but it’s so important to strike that balance.

  6. I didnt even hear of Corona Cards but it sounds so beautiful! You’re absolutely right, being kind isnt about being selfless, you have to put yourself first

  7. Kindness is very important for kids to learn not just being good academically. Sadly with the busy schedule of some parents they don’t have time to teach values. And when somebody is kind to you for whatever reason or can be no reason at all, we have the desire to pay it forward. And thus it affects the world.

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