We live in a world filled with rules, laws, and political correctness. That, coupled with many other societal beliefs, fears, and expectations around what behaviour is “appropriate” has, in many ways, made us scared to give love to others.
I was at the supermarket the other day, on my way through the self-check out, when it inevitably got upset because it thought I had something extra in the bag, so of course, I called over the assistant to help me. She was a bubbly, happy looking woman, with a big smile on her face, and as she approached I had the overwhelming urge to give her a hug. It was kind of like the urge you get to scratch an itch, you can stop yourself, but it’s challenging and really uncomfortable. I went with the discomfort because my immediate thought was “it’s not appropriate to hug a stranger in the supermarket, especially because she works there, and I don’t want to make her feel uncomfortable”.
I’m a regular visitor to this particular supermarket, and it’s quite small, so the assistant recognised me, and while she was helping me sort out what had gone wrong with the checkout, she asked me what it is that I do. I explained to her briefly what coaching is about and then she had to go and help someone else.
On my next visit to the supermarket, I saw her there and asked how she was. She was chatting away and in conversation explained to me that she is a single Mum with two teenagers, one of which had gotten involved with a crowd of people who were into drugs and drug dealing, and that her home had been raided by the police and she had kicked her son out for the second time because of his drug fuelled behaviour.
When I had spoken with her the first time, she needed a hug.
The truth is, there are many people in our world who are having experiences that have them feeling pretty down. Many of them put on a brave face, many of them have it written all over their face, body language, and how they speak. Although a hug, or a smile, a kind word, a gift, or kind gesture is unlikely to solve their problems, it can go along way to helping them through, and lift their mood and ability to deal with what’s going on in their life.
What do we do though? In a society that is in fear of itself, how do we “spread the love” so to speak?
It really starts with you helping yourself to feel good, to feel loved, and happy, to fill yourself up to the point that you can then give to others, and to take responsibility for how you are feeling. It also means to honour the intuitive impulses you may get to do something kind for someone else, realise how joyful you can feel by uplifting another, and noticing how much of a difference it makes when you are uplifted by someone else.
Many people have a challenging time during this part of the year, and a random act of kindness or uplifting gesture could be all they need to get through a challenging time.
The question is a matter of whether you can overcome any fear you may have about showing some loving kindness to someone where it might be considered “inappropriate”.