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Kindness Episode 11


· 41:20


[00:00:00] Mark: So we, we ditched the lyrics idea, but I've kind of come back to it cuz I I, the, these ones felt, uh, felt relevant. But when you are out there floundering like a lighthouse, I will shine, be more kind. My friends try to be more kind. The words of Mr. Frank Turner.

[00:00:14] Mark: You're listening to the A to Z of Happiness. With Anya Pearse and me, Mark Steadman. Join us each week as we uncover the science of happiness, one letter at a time. This week it's K for kindness.

[00:00:31] Anya: I think it's one of those things which we could all do with more in our lives. You know, I think I, I. I do love the another line, you know, like Lighthouse, I will shine, be more kind, my friends try to be more kind. And it's really a way of creating connection with each other. Cuz it kind of starts with empathy.

[00:00:54] Anya: It starts with this recognition that, You know, we are all the, the common humanity thing I talk about in self-compassion. So often, you know, we are all to quote the phrase, you know, uh, spiritual beings having a human experience. And that human and experience can be beautiful and painful and joyous and full of grief sometimes simultaneously. You know, there's another line that says, you know, try, try and be kind. You never know what struggles people are actually going through, there's a lot of hurt in the world. There's a lot of people who are feeling hurt in some way, shape or form. And just being able to take the moment just to notice. To actually recognize their existence and to recognize that their journey needs some tenderness, I think is why, uh, kindness is so important.

[00:01:48] Anya: And, my, one of my favorite, uh, experts and, uh, my, one of my, you know, I was just realizing, you know, just over five years ago, he became my. Mentor Hayhouse briefly, Dr. David Hamilton, PhD. He's the kindness saw . Really?

[00:02:03] Mark: Gonna be the czar of anything. That's a good thing to be a czar

[00:02:06] Anya: I know, that's what I was thinking. Oh, I think he's, he, he was originally like the, the Kindness Czar of Psychology Magazine.

[00:02:12] Anya: I was his official title. as well as having these emotional benefits of reminding us that we belong. to, to the family of, of humanity. There is this tremendous physical effect that it has on our brains, on our hearts, our immune systems. There's a ripple effect. You know, we have often, you know, with the last few we years with the pandemic, I remember a time when someone would say, oh yeah, they, they have a, they have a very contagious laugh, was a good thing. And, and the fact that something could spread quite easily, you know, things go viral. And with kindness it is. It creates this beautiful ripple effect through our society and through our immediate relationships.

[00:03:00] Anya: Cuz it's not just, cuz it's like there's three different aspects of it. There's one where you get the helpers high. If you're kind to someone, you feel good, you know, the recipient will feel good. But actually someone seeing an act of kindness will also get the same positive hormonal shift. and each individual is more likely to pass it on.

[00:03:20] Anya: And so, , the ripple effect. You know, if you're kind to say four people in a day, you could end up touching the lives of potentially 64 people. You know, just through each person then inspiring another person to, I dunno, uh, not lose their temper with their child or, you know, a boss recognizing that a worker is tired and not giving them overtime, you know, to someone just helping someone across the street.

[00:03:47] Anya: You know, I have been . There's a line, I'm sure, I think I've shared this before. Tennessee Williams, an American playwright had a play called Street Car Named Desire, and in it there is a fading Susan Bell who declare, who has mental health challenges. Let us not be, uh, uh, let's not shy away from that.

[00:04:07] Anya: Says at one point to someone, you know, I've always relied on the kindness of strangers, and this can be one of the things of it in.

[00:04:16] Anya: We think things so often of, you know, kindness to those that we are close to. And, you know, the three directions of, of, of kindness. We, we tend to focus on two, you know, giving kindness to others or giving it to ourselves, but actually the most vulnerable thing. Receiving it from others. I remember attending a, a one day retreat with an organization, organization called Service Space, who is very, who is.

[00:04:46] Anya: Completely designed and, and orientated towards creating more kindness in the world. Um, And, and, you know, doing things for free. And we, you know, there was a whole huge, you know, room full of, I dunno, must have been like 70, 80 people and in concentric circles and going around and talking about kindness and people sharing how they had, you know, given money to the homeless or, you know, stopped to talk to someone or whatever.

[00:05:14] Anya: And I remember the energy in the room shifting when I said I am the one on the other side of this. You know, I have a body that fails in public. I've had people who offer to carry me upstairs. You know, and I think that can be kind of the most vulnerable thing, as I say, is to be, to allow ourselves to receive kindness.

[00:05:36] Anya: Cuz it also triggers up these feelings of, you know, of, of, of worthiness. Do I deserve this

[00:05:42] Mark: I also wonder there, there's, there's an. Position and exposing of vulnerability that maybe you are not necessarily comfortable with at that time. You know, if, if, if that kindness is, yeah, if it's, if it's sort of, uh, helping you cross a metaphorical bridge that you can't cross and therefore you are vulnerable.

[00:06:07] Mark: That being pointed. I know, I know from experience that can be difficult for people to accept that kind of help because they are accepting their vulnerability maybe in front of a stranger, which doesn't always feel like a good thing to do.

[00:06:19] Anya: Yeah. And I think it's interesting about, you know, vulnerability is the doorway to connection. And I know for myself when I , when I got over that frankly the joy I could see it brought the other person. and then that joy became infectious once I got over the fact that, oh, you know, I'm suppo. I'm supposed to be someone who is fully independent, completely self-sufficient, not require anyone a very western thought, you know, thought process versus, you know, we're all the ramdas line, we're all walking each other home, and this person is walking me for the next few steps because I need that.

[00:07:02] Mark: There's a couple of things that I, I wanted to pick up actually. You talking about the. The act of kindness that, that if you help for people, you could sort of help. 64 makes me think about the, the unseen hands thing that, that, that we've talked about before. You know, the many unseen hands that, that work on the things around us.

[00:07:21] Mark: And that's still an area of, of fascination for me as well, like how many lives it takes to sustain a human life. Um, And so I, I kind of just wanted to, to bring that in cuz I think that is, that, that touches on, on stuff that we've, we've talked about before, but, I the common humanity thing makes me think about, about family and if so, if we're, if we're thinking that we're all, cause you, you, you said a line about us all sort of being, being part of the, of the same family.

[00:07:48] Mark: And if we can look at strangers with that idea and think how would you treat a family member? How would you. Maybe a, a second cousin, you would probably be kinder to a second cousin that you see maybe once every three years at a wedding. You'd probably be kinder to them than you would be to a stranger.

[00:08:07] Mark: And so if you can think about the common humanity, think about all of us as being distantly related, then maybe that that helps because then there is this less of this sense. stop, I'll stop in a minute. But there's, uh, I remember being on holiday years ago and it was a tour guide who was trying to get everyone to sing and, and, uh, it was, you know, on a bus or whatever, and his line was like, you'll never see these people again. So, you know, feel free, embarrass yourself, whatever. And now I sort of think, I dunno if I like that. And, you know, not, not, not that it's a criticism. I just, I, I think. we go through our lives with that thought sometimes of this was a fleeting interaction, I'll probably not see this person again. But if, if we think about the common humanity aspect or think about us being all related, then it feels easier to, for me anyway, to think about acting more kindly because there is more of a sense there of consequence.

[00:09:08] Anya: Isabelle, there's a couple of things that come to mind. On that. And, and my mind is actually the flip of that. If I'm never gonna see someone again, why don't I leave them better than how I found them? There is this Buddhist concept that we are, you know, we've been incarnated so many times that we are all each other's mothers.

[00:09:30] Mark: Oof.

[00:09:31] Anya: Which depending on the, your relationship with your mother is an interesting one to get your head around.

[00:09:36] Mark: It's all got a little bit of Marty McFly.

[00:09:39] Anya: hasn't it, just but also, you know, this idea that strangers are friends who you just haven't met yet. I don't, I would probably, You saying about my, your, your third cousin or second cousin who you only see every three years they would be a stranger to me. And I would hope that I would treat it's that line. Is it, uh, Raja Kipling, if you can treat every, you know, everyone the same. I think that's, you know, so regardless of whether they are Kiss and kin, , being able to recognize someone's struggles and someone's humanity. I'll get into this in one of the points in a second, but this can be one of the difficulties of modern society is that we forget that we are interconnected with each other and we only want to protect those who we can see extremely clearly.

[00:10:29] Anya: You know, physical DNA bonds.

[00:10:32] Mark: I had a chat with someone yesterday. Uh, we were talking about improv, and he, this is, uh, a mutual friend who, uh, lives in the north of England and. We were both, we, we, we've both got some ideas about doing some, some kind of playful improv thing. And I talked about my, uh, my couple of years dalliance with it.

[00:10:51] Mark: And uh, he just so happened to mention, Hey, I've got a friend who was down there who did some improv and turns out, yeah, not only did I know this person, but I was able to find a photo of them performing at one of our shows. and tho those are two very different worlds. You know, my improv world is so different to my, to, to the world in which I, I've come to know you and, and our mutual friends.

[00:11:16] Mark: They're very, very different. And what I like there is. Again, coming back to common humanity, thinking about these connections, for me, it, it, it's helpful to think about almost that the consequences of kindness, thinking about how those ripples spread, or not even necessarily ripples, but how like arteries, the, the, they, they sort of, they, they interconnect.

[00:11:42] Mark: And it's probably a bad metaphor, but you know what I mean,

[00:11:45] Anya: Yeah. Yeah. But, but, but, hmm.

[00:11:48] Mark: They, they, they, they flow into a, uh, into and out of each other in interconnect. And, and so there is, there is a, a sense of, I can't think of a better word than consequence at the moment of treating someone kindly who you think is in a disconnected world from the world that you normally inhabit, because you never know where those connections will meet up.

[00:12:11] Anya: Indeed. Indeed. And I think, you know, I'm just looking at, one of the things I've got here, my, the books, I've got two books here, which I'll list in the show notes, and one of them, I'm looking at now Kindness by Jamie Thurston, you know, and she has the contents page of 50 different things. And you know, one of them is, you know, be nice to parking attendants, you know,

[00:12:31] Mark: Simon's Got it.

[00:12:32] Anya: Yeah. But, but, but it's, there's this thing of, again, Treating well the platinum rule. Well, the golden rule we all tend to stick to a lot of us, tend to stick to is, you know, treat others as you wish to be treated. You know, the platinum rule really is, you know, treat people how they wish to be treated

[00:12:49] Mark: A very, very quick example of this, and then we should talk about brain chemicals. But I, in my, in my previous, uh, job where I was running a little business, well, I still am running a little business. I was running a different little business and I made a big mistake and it irrevocably affected my clients, my customers. I lost a bunch of data, I cop to it and, and I said, you know, I, I failed and, you know, I failed. I failed in two ways. I failed because this thing happened and I also failed to have an adequate backup from long ago enough. Because, yeah. Anyway, and I sent this email and I got one guy who was really one person who was, who was sort of really upset.

[00:13:34] Mark: And, and although people. annoyed and we spent a lot of time dealing with support tickets. The actual email that I sent out when I got replies back, almost all of them were, that sounds rough. That sounds like a, that sounds tricky. That sounds difficult. And I'm sorry that, you know, this is something you were dealing with and someone sent me a joke, someone who I, I don't think I'd ever spoken to before.

[00:13:59] Mark: Emailed me a joke because he said, you're obviously having a bad day, so here's a joke. Cheer you up. And in a world where we don't think about people on the other end of email addresses or Twitter accounts as I was reading today, Instagram accounts, we don't think of them as, as people. We don't recognize them as people.

[00:14:22] Mark: The ability to do that, I think. Again, it, and that's, that's the story that I remember three, four years later and it's, and it's impacted me. So yeah, these things matter

[00:14:33] Anya: They do. And they do. And I think, you know, it takes me to my first prompt, you know, where can you be unexpectedly kind? And it sounds like that is what you received in unexpected kindness

[00:14:45] Mark: in the bagging area.

[00:14:46] Anya: in the backing area, you know? And you know, to be honest, some act of kindness do take more effort than others.

[00:14:51] Mark: Mm-hmm.

[00:14:52] Anya: it involves us placing ourselves in the shoes of someone else.

[00:14:55] Anya: And sometimes we really don't want to, or it's, or it's an effort to you know, someone who I was no, I'm no longer in a relationship with you know, part of our, our conversations have been, you know, he said that he was having some difficulties about it. Without thinking, I responded the way that your clients did.

[00:15:15] Anya: I said, oh, that sounds painful, you know, which brought a very emotional response. And you know, there's, I, I, I suddenly remembered a piece from Brene Brown. She talks about, you know, having a rumble with someone which she calls, you know, a real conversation, even if it's tough. . You know, I think perhaps your clients responded well to you because you were clear about it.

[00:15:38] Anya: You clear? I messed up. Here's the thing. I'm sorry. You know, and her phrase is, you know, Claire is kind, unclear is unkind. And I think, you know, if Bebe can be unexpectedly kind, can be things like bringing clarity to a situation. You know, one of the few phrases I say, which I think is actually mine, but sounds like it's stolen from someone else.

[00:16:01] Anya: Uncertainty is the wellspring of anxiety,

[00:16:05] Mark: Yes, I was listening to, dunno What, it was some podcast yesterday. And on it they were talking about one of the subtle ways that you can make people's lives a little bit easier at work. And one of them is, If you've ever been in an office environment or a work environment where you have a big, long email chain that's just, you know, and it's this whole big conversation, and then someone else gets brought in and they get brought in by that email chain just being forwarded to them

[00:16:40] Mark: and just, there you go.

[00:16:41] Mark: That's, that's it. That's now your problem. So that person has gotta understand the context. Read through every single email. Figure out who's on which side, what is the actual problem, how to disentangle it. Whereas what is so much easier and so much kinder is to go, here's the full history. Here's what you need to know.

[00:17:01] Mark: Here's the summary. I now need to pass this on to you rather than just mm.

[00:17:06] Anya: Yeah, and you know, I. Um, Autoresponders, you know, at the out of office respond all my emails, which is because I know I can take a while to reply back and I just say, you know, if you've received this, you know that the email has at least arrived, so you don't have that, that level of anxiety.

[00:17:23] Anya: And I will get round to it, but I am prioritizing my health. So, you know, apologies if it takes a while, sort of thing, but actually just giving people the reassurance that yeah, it has at least arrived. And I think that is, can be, you know, it's, it's finding these ways of placing ourselves, as I say, in, in the shoes of another person and going, okay, so what, what tends to trigger someone?

[00:17:46] Anya: What tends to, how can I make someone's life easier, as you say, in the office or in a relationship or whatever. You know, the kindness. You know, of being honest and vulnerability and, and something which I've discussed with the innovation and neurodiversity expert, uh, Matthew Bellinger, this idea of, of good endings being kind.

[00:18:05] Anya: You know, again, it comes back to that, that clarity piece. Being able to to sit down with someone and have that hard conversation and go, Hey, this is, this is what's happening. and you know, the kindest thing can be, you know, in an ideal world, the kind thing is to say, you know, this, this is happening.

[00:18:24] Anya: And I'd like, how, how can we both work towards finding a solution? Cuz it's that, I think again, it reminds me of Bene Abraham and she was doing her, uh, thesis, you know, she went into her supervisor's office basically like all armored up, ready for battle to, to defend it. Imagining her supervisor being the opposite side of the table, but actually she brought her to sit side by side and place the dissertation in front of both of them.

[00:18:53] Anya: And I think there's that kindness as well of kindness of going, yes, this sucks, and in this together, and how can we bring kindness, tenderness, thoughtfulness, companionship um, vulnerability. To this so that we both, you know, give this the, the love and attention it deserves, whatever that may be, whether it's a relationship, whether it's a dissertation, whether it's a piece of work, whatever,

[00:19:20] Mark: the kindness of good endings. Makes me think about the, the phrase, uh, time heals all wounds and think about the, sort of the ruptures and, and, and the wounds that get created. I'm, I'm possibly at the moment now where a God, I mean, it's, it's been a, it's been a few years a, a. That is beginning to heal because of a hurt.

[00:19:48] Mark: And there was a sort of a work related wound that, that got, because the ending was bad. Uh, it, it wasn't a good ending, uh, for, for me and this other and this other person, uh, in this working relationship that took time to. and that took some, you know, some outreach and, and and, and, you know, various things.

[00:20:11] Mark: And luckily both people involved value, kindness. So yeah, it sort of makes me think, you know, we, we can maybe boost the healing process a little bit with, with creating, uh, with sealing that off in, in, you know, when we can. But also knowing that even when we can't, there is still hope that. That can be sealed for, for, for, you know, everyone involved.

[00:20:36] Mark: It just, it will take different amounts of time for different people.

[00:20:38] Mark: That's perhaps a discussion for another topic.

[00:20:41] Anya: Perhaps, perhaps, but it's, you know, kind of having the hope that things can be mended. I think, you know, one of the places where a lack of kindness can, and, and a lack of clarity can often spring up is in dating. And this, this very regular phenomenon, phenomenon now of ghosting.

[00:20:59] Mark: Mm-hmm.

[00:21:00] Anya: and you know, we have these, uh, unfinished threads in our minds about, and, and in our heart.

[00:21:09] Anya: About, you know, why, why things have ended and, and we naturally gravitate towards stories that, uh, amplify all the negative, uh, beliefs and memories and stories that we have about ourselves. All the insecurities while insecure fe feelings and thinking. And cuz it does, it can take courage to be kind, I think.

[00:21:34] Mark: Yeah, But, uh, as, as prompt number two would have it, uh, there may be times when we don't always want to be kind or we find that difficult. So question number two is, what does being unkind give you?

[00:21:49] Anya: Yeah, because I think this is an interesting provocation, really. . Because we don't always want to be kind.

[00:21:58] Mark: Mm-hmm.

[00:21:59] Anya: know, there are times when just thinking now, uh, you know, saying we want to, you know, look after our kiss and kin, you know, the, the othering of people, the dehumanizing of other people means that we can treat them in a way which doesn't cause it so much cognitive dissonance.

[00:22:16] Anya: we can want to be unkind to someone. the, one of my favorite books perfect Love Imperfect Relationships by John Wellwood. You know, I paraphrase of line in this, which, and it's all about kind of p blaming people you know, and how that can be the block towards love. His phrase, which I paraphrase is this, as you know, grief, that is not healed, calcifies into grievance,

[00:22:44] Anya: and so you have hurt me. Therefore, and I cannot share with, I cannot heal the grief of that. I can't, you know, I cannot, will not, and you know, anger is sads bodyguard. it can be, we want to withdraw our kindness, withdraw our care, withdraw our love, because it can be a desire to cut an emotional bond with someone,

[00:23:09] Mark: Yeah, and I think perhaps also we have to address the 50,000 pound elephant in the room that surely someone would suggest or have the question, are there not people in the world that are not deserving of kindness brackets our closed brackets? Uh, and I don't just mean people who have maybe hurt us on a personal level, but Does, Vladimir Putin deserve kindness? Do you know? And so maybe that Yeah, I, I, that, that, that is, that is my, that is my opening thesis to you, because it's, you know, it's a, it's a real thing. And I know it's, it's a question that people are gonna have

[00:23:47] Anya: Hmm. And it's slightly above my pay grade, but I'll try and do my best.

[00:23:51] Mark: well, it doesn't have to be Vladimir Putin, but it could

[00:23:53] Anya: but, but, but, but, but no, I mean, if we do take, you know, cause I was thinking, you know, the one who, you know, who would ordinarily be quoted in that context before him was Donald Trump. and I think it depends on, depends on the kindness actually.

[00:24:11] Anya: You know, if we think about the fact that, you know, Vladimir Putin, he is caught up in a very particular set of thinking. He is caught up in a very particular sense of the world. His his grief was turned into grievance.

[00:24:27] Anya: Very much so now he is grieving the disintegration of the Soviet Union. He is very attached to you know, mother Russia, you know, being this powerful force in the world.

[00:24:39] Anya: He sees the West and its influence as being toxic and. , if we can show kind of the kindness to just stop a moment and just look through his eyes and go. Well, you know, there are definitely aspects of the Western society, which you are right. They are toxic. You know, there is no care for each other or very little care for each other.

[00:25:02] Anya: Um, It is very individualistic. It's based on, you know, productivity and certain superficial things rather than integrity.

[00:25:11] Mark: Yeah. I, I, I, you know, yes. Uh, unsustainable growth. Uh, and, and, and the greed that that can lead to.

[00:25:17] Anya: Yeah. Yeah. And I think, it makes me think of almost like the PEMA Children's, you know, idiot compassion, you know, if we have too much compassion for the situation, then we will become a doormat and get trampled

[00:25:29] Mark: Mm-hmm.

[00:25:30] Anya: But we can still connect to the fact that he's a human being with fears. You know, they are driving him to act in certain ways, which are, counterproductive to put it mildly

[00:25:42] Mark: Yeah.

[00:25:43] Anya: you know, well counterproductive to what we believe. You know, they may well be very productive. and in alignment to what he believes. And so just trying to, it is not easy to be kind to those like Putin who have tremendous power over others and wish for more. And at one point they were a newborn child, mulling and crying for its mother.

[00:26:09] Anya: At some point he will be on his death. Alone and the images of his life flashing through his mind as in the last 30 seconds with a last burst of blood that runs through his brain. You know what? What happens in between those things can be a real test for compassion, for kindness, and he is still a human being with fatties and fears and anxie.

[00:26:39] Anya: how he, how they manifest for him is another discussion. But there can be a recognition of those things at least, you know, and, and it kind of makes me just think, you know, one of the things that I've been discovering, you know, I've been in very feeling very helpless in my situation. I mean, I haven't gone full Putin, but, you know, I've, I've got a little, I got a little bit irked.

[00:27:03] Anya: I, I got a tad frustrated and you. I think this is the thing, you know, if we feel powerless, anger is incredibly energizing.

[00:27:13] Mark: Mm-hmm.

[00:27:14] Anya: if I've, I've been feeling helpless and powerless and unable to have any agency or control over a situation. And yeah, I, I, I, it was a relief actually to feel. because there was so much of me that actually checked out, you know, that feeling of hopelessness, you know, that's kind of, on, on my little habitat's model.

[00:27:40] Anya: That's when you're in the concrete zone, it's like there's no point in trying, at least when you're angry, there's kind of like, okay, I've got some energy moving around me now so that I can actually try and do something about the situation.

[00:27:53] Mark: There's some piss and or vinegar around.

[00:27:55] Anya: indeed, indeed. , you know, it makes me think again. You know, by and Katie's work.

[00:28:01] Anya: Oh. You know, which is called the work. You know, she has this thing of, you know, cause we tend, this is when we want to withdraw our kindness from others. You know, we very much end up pointing the blame at someone. And I'm just doing this pointing at you right now. Mark and you can see like one fingers heading towards you, but as they say, I've got three fingers pointing back towards myself.

[00:28:20] Anya: And this is like the Byman, Katie's the work thing. It says, you know, judge your neighbor, write it down, ask four questions, turn it around.

[00:28:27] Mark: I

[00:28:27] Mark: don't trust anything that rhymes.

[00:28:28] Mark: There's a little two twe for me.

[00:28:32] Anya: Well, it's kinda like, so, you know, so ju judging our neighbor might be, well, you know, it might, in my situation, this person demands too much of me. And so is that true? It's kinda like immediate. Yes, it is. Cuz I believe that and said, well, is it really? and it's like, well, you know that, that's kind of an opinion, really.

[00:28:51] Anya: The next question is how do you feel when you think that thought? And so if you feel that someone is demanding too much of you, he might feel trapped or resentful, or that you can't do enough, that you're never going to be enough. But if you think, you know, then if you asked, how do you feel when you don't have that thought?

[00:29:14] Anya: And that can be really complex with people. Could people go, well, what do you mean? And it's like, well, if you are having a good meal and talking to a friend, you're not thinking of that thought. How are you feeling? And you know, when, when you are, you know, having a good experience with that person.

[00:29:28] Anya: How are you? and it just nudges you to realize that it's not the experience you are responding to, it's the thinking about the experience and the turn it around thing is, you're saying, oh, you know, this person is so demanding, you know, you can turn it around to this person isn't demanding, which then brings in the empathy thing, Oh, maybe there are times when they're actually grateful. Maybe there are times when it is. and then turning it back on yourself, you know, I am the one who's demanding, recognizing that very often we can project our own stuff onto people

[00:30:06] Mark: Is that right?

[00:30:07] Anya: Yeah. Apparently so. And it may be the reason why someone's apparent. Demanding this, you know, I don't think that's a word. How, how they demand make demands on us can seem out of proportion, can be because there's something triggered in us that recognizes that we are making demands that outta proportion of them

[00:30:31] Anya: and it's much easier to distance ourselves from, from that that cognitive dissonance really.

[00:30:38] Anya: To, to outsource it to someone else and say, no, you, you are, you are the one with this problem, rather than I'm the one with this, which means that I now need to deal with it. But the best thing would be is, you know, if you can say, hi, I'm feeling that there's some demands going on in this situation.

[00:30:53] Anya: Can we sit down together and work out what they are for, what they feel like for both of. And see if we can come through this together. Sadly, that doesn't tend to happen. , as I've discovered.

[00:31:03] Mark: Well, let's move on to, uh, our, our final prompt here, which is, uh, how can you add more kindness to your.

[00:31:10] Anya: because it's almost like the gratitude journaling exercises, which kind of prompt you at the end of each day to, you know, write down three things that you're grateful for, and just knowing that you have that brings it into your consciousness. One of the things which I think most of us do, and I've been guilty of this as, as all get out for the last few weeks, is being really focused on my own problems and challenges and difficulties, and that can be, can close us off to little act of kindness.

[00:31:49] Anya: Oh, little opportunities that present themselves. You know, just this week at the Museum of Happiness a Cheney journalist at the city University emailed us saying, can, can, can we interview someone? Uh, can we do it today, please? to talk about Happiness

[00:32:06] Anya: you know, and it's like, yeah. And. You know, I, I, I wasn't having the, the world's best day, I will admit cuz I've not been having the world's best day for a couple of months now. . But I thought, well, I'm gonna be talking. I know why not. And I managed to help this person out with their assignment. and just having an antenna open to.

[00:32:28] Anya: Those little opportunities and they can be with people that we know with with strangers. And even just little things like, you know, I've got this, I've said in one of the books I've mentioned, the kindness, uh, the little thing that matters most has a whole bunch of things like, you know, share good.

[00:32:45] Anya: give the benefit of the doubt. You know, pay it forward. You know, if you're going into a coffee shop, you know, it's a standard practice. If, you know, pay for the person behind you or, you know, leave some cash so that you know the next one can be covered. It's like little, little things, even just smiling and making eye contact.

[00:33:03] Anya: you know, just noticing someone and wanna be looking at these ways of being more kindness in your life. You know, just rec check out, you know? Is this, is this all for others or is there some of it for yourself? Because I think, you know, we've talked about one of the pillars of self compassion common humanity a lot, but of course one of the others is self kind.

[00:33:22] Anya: You know, how can we be kinder to ourselves? Yesterday I took a nap. I was supposed to be, uh, in, I was attending a workshop for a two hour workshop and halfway through I just realized that I was falling. No comment on the workshop presenter, who was amazing, but I was falling asleep, you know, at the moment.

[00:33:43] Anya: I'm needing kinda like 10 to 12 hours in bed at night and naps during the day. And there's a lot of stuff going on for me. And so then the kindest thing I could do was to say, I'm loving this and I'm really sorry, but I need to . I need to go and nap. I've got less energy than I realized. And you know, people said, oh, you know, that's all right.

[00:33:59] Anya: That's fine, that's fine. And it says, you know, can you add more kindness to your life by receiving it from another, you know, allowing ourselves. , the vulnerability of that. You know, I've done that with, with yourself and our mutual friend in the north saying, you know, I need, you know, can we hang out tonight?

[00:34:16] Anya: Because yeah, this is, things are a bit challenging right now. And actually asking for that kindness, which can be again, as we said about at the right, at the start, incredibly vulnerable.

[00:34:30] Mark: Yeah. Well, I, it, it, it feel, it feels so strange and I feel so inadequate, uh, here, that, that I'm just sort of, you've just finished delivering a, you know, a lovely thing and I'm like, now talk more please. But that's my job.

[00:34:46] Anya: That's your job. That's your job.

[00:34:48] Mark: And so I would like you, please, can you please deliver me a loving kindness meditation?

[00:34:53] Anya: when I was thinking of how to close this on kindness, no. So. Funny actually how you brought in, you know, the people who don't deserve our kindness because this is a meta meditation, a loving kindness meditation, which I will do briefly, but as they say, officially

[00:35:10] Anya: And so if it feels safe and comfortable to do so, if you're not driving right now close your eyes or lower your. And just feel your seat beneath you, supporting you, your sitting bones, your feet on the floor, sensation of your hands. Perhaps gently guide your awareness to your breath as it rises and falls in your chest without effort, without alteration

[00:35:43] Anya: the kindness of being alive.

[00:35:49] Anya: Bring to mind Now, if you are able, someone who you find easy to love,

[00:36:00] Anya: could be a relative, a partner, a pet , someone you have an uncomplicated relationship with. Imagine them in front of you right now. I'm gonna send them these kind wishes. May you be safe, may you be happy, may you be healthy, and may you live with ease.

[00:36:38] Anya: And now because kindness. Is an infinite resource. I'm going to invite you to join that person and share in the kindness because you too are someone who struggles, who has challenges, who tries to do their best and feels that they fail, and I invite you. Offer these words to yourself, to your own beautiful heart.

[00:37:11] Anya: May I be safe, may I be happy. May I be healthy. May I live with ease?

[00:37:24] Anya: Now, thank the person who is easy to love as they move from your mind and invite someone who is. You neither like nor dislike. Perhaps it's someone who serves you in a coffee shop or someone who you pass regularly, but are just on nodding terms with.

[00:37:52] Anya: Just recognize that they too, have insecurities where they too have struggles. They too have beautiful memories and memories, which makes them rinse in pain.

[00:38:10] Anya: Perhaps we can send them kind of issues too right now. May you be safe, may you be happy. May you be healthy and may you live with ease

[00:38:28] Anya: and now, We're going to call to mind someone who, if we're going to be honest, we feel challenged by, there is hurt there, there is struggle, there is disappointment. And can we allow ourselves, can we invite our heart to recognize and see that they're struggling to. Uh, like us doing the best they can with a level of thinking that seems real to them.

[00:39:06] Anya: That they have things that they're avoiding, that they are hurt by, that they grieve,

[00:39:16] Anya: and can we offer to them these kind thoughts too. May you be safe, may you be happy. May be healthy, may you live with ease.

[00:39:33] Anya: Now, as kindness is an infinite resource, and there are so many people who we do not know on this planet, and so many beings and organisms, Can we expand our love and our horizon and our breaths to encompass everyone and everything be they known to us are unknown. The unseen hands, the unknown organisms, the plants, the animals, anything and everything that constitutes the world in which we inhabit.

[00:40:16] Anya: Maybe offer this as a prayer and a blessing. May you be happy. May you be safe. May you be healthy, and may you all live with ease and peace and grace. Let this be our collective prayer for the world now and always.

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Creators and Guests

Anya Pearse
Anya Pearse
Intuitive adviser, facilitator, and positive psychology practitioner.
Mark Steadman
Mark Steadman
Coach helping digital creatives with big feelings


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