Assert yourself with kindness at christmas
"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention." - Oscar Wilde.
Assertiveness supports the principles of self-respect and mutual respect. This is a perfect time of year to refocus on both. Being assertive can empower you to show others kindness and help you deal non-aggressively with difficult people and situations.
Here are some seasonal suggestions and tips towards being kind to yourself, kind to others and kind to the planet, whatever festivity you celebrate:
1. Be kind to yourself
According to Ruby Wax, “Only if you are kind to yourself, can you be kind to others”. While there may be some leeway here, it helps to look after yourself. This time of year can be fun, but hectic and stressful with so much to finish off by the end of the year. You’ll have presents to buy, people to contact and a need to meet the diverse needs of family, friends and the workplace.
Do you still have much to do?
- Stop, sit down, relax and think it through. Write a list of everything you need to do. Prioritise your list (1,2,3,4 etc - placing a number in the left margin). In the right margin, write how long you estimate each task will take and finally, act on your list of priorities.
- Save shopping time, the stress of travel and bustling crowds by checking who has an Amazon Wish List. Buy friends and family what they really, really want.
- If you can’t meet all the demands on you, explain to family and friends what you’ll do later.
Think about who you want to see and what you can realistically do:
- Fix times to meet those people you want to see but you can’t see now - early in the New Year. Be honest. Say reassuringly how much you look forward to seeing them.
- Say ‘no’ kindly to the pressures you want to resist, like an extra drink or mince pie, or requests for unaffordable presents. Don’t feel bound by peer pressures; you don’t have to go with the flow. Eat, drink and spend in a way that feels right for you.
- Create some quiet time for yourself for a walk and fresh air to relax as an interlude from the buzz and busyness.
- Leave a clear desk to come back to at work (whether employed or self-employed). To clear your head before the break; make a list all your pending tasks so you are clear about your priorities and what to do next when you return.
2. Be kind to others
- If you have an elderly or vulnerable neighbour, pop round and see them. Bring them back items they need from the shops. Make time for a coffee and chat. It may make all the difference in the world to them.
- Thank those you meant to thank. Showing appreciation is a warming way to close the year.
- Give a hot drink and nutritious sandwich to someone sleeping rough or a blanket to help them against the cold. Or, donate to Centrepoint (www.centrepointroom.org.uk) to help get young people off the streets into accommodation.
- Smile at people and greet them – it can make a difference to their day – and to yours.
3. Be kind to the planet
- Put out bird food where small birds can feed without competition from larger birds and squirrels – you can buy bird feeders that protect against squirrels.
- Re-use plastic bags or buy a bag for life when you next go shopping.
- Recycle the mountains of packaging that adorn our foods and gifts.
- Recycle cards – primary teachers may find them useful in the classroom.
Post your acts of kindness on www.kindnessuk.com to give ideas and encourage others.
Here are four more of my favourite kindness quotes:
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” - Aesop.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” - Mother Teresa.
“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” - Jesse Jackson.
"Ask yourself, have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world." - Annie Lennox.
I wish you entertaining, relaxing and enjoyable seasonal festivities, whatever festival you celebrate.