Mental Health Awareness Week. What it means to be kind 
 
It's Mental Health Awareness Week and I'm sure you agree with me that this is a poignant time to be having it. It seems that everywhere I look, I see adverts for Mental Health awareness, products, tips and general goodwill across the world. I love that it's so prevalent at the moment (maybe the cynics are saying that I'm being targeted for posts and advertising!) but I really believe there has been a huge leap forward in advancing the conversations around good and bad mental health, and de-stigmatising people's perceptions. One of my goals is for us as a society to talk about mental health the same way we talk about the common cold. 
 
This week's MHAW topic is kindness. That's great, I first thought, then I second thought what does "kindness" mean and where does it come from? The word is derived from the Middle English word ‘kindenes’ meaning ‘noble deeds’ or ‘courtesy’ and the first recorded use of the word kindness was in the 14th century. 
 
Perhaps it seems a little deflating to use the word kindness as something as a noble deed, but don't forget, or please remember, that even the smallest act of kindness can seem like the noblest deed. 
 
The essay The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley, is a beautiful story which has been adapted many times and used on countless occassions as a metaphor and teaching piece. It goes something like this. 
An old man and his grandson were walking along a deserted beach at sunset. The little boy became concerned about all the starfish that had washed up on the beach. He bent down and, one by one, began to return them to the safety of the ocean. “What do you think you are doing?” said the man gently to his grandson. 
 
“I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean,” said the little boy. “It’s low tide now and all these starfish have been washed up onto shore. The sun is up and, if I don’t throw them back into the sea, they’ll die up here.” 
 
“I understand,” replied the old man. “But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can’t possibly get all of them. You can’t possibly make a difference?” 
 
The little boy smiled, bent down and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he turned to his grandfather and said, “I made a difference to that one!” 
 
A noble deed or small act of kindness can go a long way in life. What noble deed are you going to do this week? 
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