Day Six of 365 Acts of Courage and Kindness
Wow! I can’t believe it’s day six already. Only 359 days left 🙂 What an interesting day it was too. I am going to start today with my act of kindness today because I got to the end of the day and all of a sudden I said to my fiance, “Oh no, I haven’t done an act of kindness today yet.” His reaction was to burst out laughing!
“What’s so funny?” I asked. He then proceeded to tell me that I had done several acts of kindness that day and hadn’t even noticed. I had offered to take a beautiful photo of a young couple in the drop pool which they will no doubt share with the world, I had hugged a new friend that we met in a cafe, and I had told a stranger how beautiful she looked which had brightened up her day.
This got me thinking. Why had I not acknowledged myself for those random acts of kindness? Maybe I didn’t think they were ‘good enough’ to acknowledge myself for them? In which case, that means I am setting myself up in this challenge with unrealistic expectations that each act of kindness (and probably courage as well) has to be grand in scale or effect.
This is often how our fear plays out subtly in our lives. By setting ourselves up with unrealistic goals that we can never achieve so then we don’t change, and by remaining the same, we stay safely in our comfort zone.
For example, I’ve had clients who when I asked what happiness meant to them they proceeded to tell me the rules they had around happiness. That they had to feel elevated and elated the entire time, twenty-four-seven! If they didn’t, then they had failed at being happy. Similarly, with loving themselves. Their fear has them convinced that if they aren’t completely perfect then how can they ever love themselves? Whereas the truth and reality is that no one is perfect so they are setting themselves up to never truly be happy or to ever love themselves. That way, they can remain in the same state and situation they are currently in…their comfort zone.
So, today was a valuable lesson for me to recognise that my fear was subtly trying to sabotage my ‘stepping out of my comfort zone’ with this challenge and now that I am aware of it I can make the commitment to acknowledge all types of acts of kindness that I do and not just the grand scale ones.
Now…onto my act of courage challenge for today and it’s a biggy! Today I shared a secret about myself with a very dear and close friend that had the realistic probability of ending the friendship. The potential for judgment was huge and consequently, I had been putting off sharing it with them for a long time because of the fear of losing their friendship.
I could have continued keeping my truth a secret but by not opening up and having the courage to share it, it meant there was a disconnect between us and I couldn’t be myself entirely and freely around them. Secrets create lies and although I had never lied often the topic would come up and I would feel uncomfortable and have to weave around it or change the topic in order to avoid sharing my secret.
So, yesterday it happened again and so I decided it was time to share. In a split second, I blurted out (before I had time to second guess it and let my fear of being judged jump in) that I needed to talk to them about something. There, I had said it and there was no way out of it unless I decided to lie and make something else up to talk about and I don’t lie so…it was game on grasshopper!
I started the conversation with why I hadn’t shared it earlier and then I just said it. I am pretty sure I then held my breath for her reaction. There was a very long pause while she processed what I had said. I went on to explain that I understood she might need some time to process it and while I waited I shared what my fear was, that she might judge me.
The good news is, she didn’t judge me at all. In fact, she went on to tell me that she admired me even more now and was grateful that our friendship meant so much to me that I was willing to risk it all in order to be totally honest with her. She acknowledged the amount of courage it must have taken for me to tell her and I could tell in her voice that we had become closer.
I touched base with her hours later to check in if anything had changed and I could feel the connection between us was now stronger than ever before. It was like she now had permission to be even more open and honest with me too. Talk about a great outcome!
But you might be asking, what if she had judged me? I was prepared for that too and although I would have respected her decision and choice and it would have broken my heart to lose the friendship, being myself and being completely open and honest is one of my core values so if I couldn’t be my complete self around her then that wouldn’t be living a full life and I know the friendship would have suffered eventually.