*I originally had more photos (of donated food & clothing, and more shirt styles) for this post but they were sadly lost when my laptop MacBook was ruined. The keyboard got wet - and I did not know until the entire inside had corroded :(
A while ago I was contacted by the company BeHuman, a clothing company based out of Halifax. Amongst all the emails I receive this companies story stood out by far, and I was delighted to take part in spreading it. The company was inspired by the story of Mathew Jackson, a man who was tragically killed hours after doing an amazing act of kindness for a stranger in need. BeHuman now wants to spread the idea of simply being kind to others and accepting the differences that so often separate us by being a loving, positive, and good human.
The company asked me to take part in a bit of a challenge, to do an act of kindness and share it with all of you. I jumped at this opportunity because most of my days are spent conducting research on what makes us empathetic towards others, rather than actually acting on this.
I first want to share with you what my thesis research consisted of, which I have now began to carry on into a master's thesis. It might give you a little insight into how being kind towards others truly benefits you.. I know it's often said we feel nice after doing good for others but there are long term mental and physical health benefits to being able to emotionally relate and connect to the individuals around us.. Especially when you're helping someone who is hurting (such as trauma workers, the people my actual research is on). We everyday face situations where our empathetic responses come into play. Empathy is our ability to understand and share the feelings of another, and is the basis of why we are kind and form helping relationships. Having certain empathetic traits that are other orientated (concern and perspective taking) showed to have a protective and positive impact on the well-being of the individual. Simply put, being kind by empathizing and helping others is a win/win for everyone.
Right, enough of my research, I could rant on about it for hours! For the challenge I thought about what I'd like to do... I feel quite nervous interacting with people at random, and not yet in my life do I have the money to spend on grand charitable acts. These are two big things that will stop people from believing they can do these sort of "random acts of kindness". Certainly not true, and I hope we can break away from that idea.
Here two acts I took part in to share and spread kindness:
I work in customer service and with study participants, it is part of my job to be kind to these people (of course!) but really engaging people is another story. I found when I began to ask others questions and really listen to their answers they lit up. We smiled more at each other and in one case an older gentleman thanked me for talking to him as he was lonely on his travels. Being present in conversations and engaging with others, not just at work, can really brighten up days.
Donating Things You Already Own
I changed my diet a long time ago and I was left with a lot of food that was just sitting in our pantry. I was pleased to see this food not go to waste as we took four bags of non-perishable food to a Feed Nova Scotia location. With the holidays coming around it remains as important as ever to donate. Secondly, sitting at my parents' home in the South Shore of Nova Scotia there were bags of clothing from my high school and early university days. For some reason I was holding onto them when they could be used by others. Off to the donation bins they went!
As a side note about the actual shirts gifted from BeHuman that you see me wearing in the photos - they are super soft and they make me happy when I wear them. Their simplicity makes them the perfect go to t-shirt, they're extremely versatile. Check out their other clothing at www.behuman.me.
I would like to challenge my DEAR friend Colin to take part in this challenge. He is working as an audio engineer in Halifax (and starting to share this through his social media!) and I'd love to see him spread some kindness too :)