Giving can be thinking kind thoughts on the tube...
Hello from the ski slopes! We finally had our first Happiness Club meeting last week. Three men, five ladies, all relatively local. Everyone knew at least one other person. I was so pleased at how open they were, and they had clearly given it some thought before.There were some really good vegetable crisps from Marks, cheese, and a bit of wine it being a Friday night. So what did we learn from our discussion? So much, but here are few things:
We were more open to opportunities to give in the weeks before the club meeting. For instance, one member lent money to a family whose luggage had been lost on holiday. They were in the same hotel and she offered proactively - telling us that it was just more on her radar to do so. The family spent the rest of the holiday waving enthusiastically to her!
The prospect of this meeting raised our awareness & conviction in the giving we already did. One member takes extra time to talk to her older patients, knowing what a difference it makes to them. She sometimes felt the pressure of a delayed patient list as a result, but the whole thing was unconscious until she reflected on this theme. Now she will do it with more conviction when it is feasible.
We all agreed that resentment came when we were expected to give. I found it liberating to seek out giving that was not expected and was quite lighthearted, especially in our digital world. Leaving a heart shaped morning note for my husband and sending a postcard to my closest friend who has overcome a lot, telling her amongst other things that we have been friends for over 20 years.
Interestingly, many of us said we find it hard to ask for help, partly because we feel that everyone around us is so busy. Is this a London thing? One member, not originally from London, makes a point of being cheerful on the tubes, both outwardly and inwardly. I loved this concept and decided to make that my commitment for the next month. I'm quite happy on the tubes but a bit more moody in lifts and other crowded public waiting situations. So I'm going to think warmly about the other people crowded into the lift or transport with me, ask myself if I can be of help to any of them. Even if I can't, and we can barely move, I think this projected positive emotion will sort of seep out of me! I like this because however busy I am I feel I can keep it up. In fact, out here on the mountains, I've already started doing it when queuing for lifts - and it feels good!
p.s. The latest Psychologies magazine Dossier is all about Kindness - so relevant to all of the above!