“Peace on earth, good will to all men” ~ Johnny Marks
Or, as defined by my dictionary
Goodwill (n): kindly feelings towards other people
Earlier I was in Sainsbury’s. It was every bit as crowded as you would expect a major supermarket to be on New Year’s Eve. In the bustle I connected with a woman and her young daughter & spilt some stuff out of my basket. No-one was harmed, no damage was done, we all exchanged smiles and muttered apologies. Then, as the woman whirled to go, daughter firmly in hand, the little girl looked back over her shoulder at me and gave me a big beaming smile and a thumbs up. It was the sweetest thing I have seen in a long time and warmed me to the cockles of my heart.
For the rest of my shopping and the following walk home I took a little more care with people; I took time to step aside, to smile and thank those who did the same for me. I started to imagine these circles of goodwill spiralling into the ether, spreading and sharing with others, each one of use that had smiled and tanked another being buoyed up with the memory of that kindness and wanting to spread it about.
Goodwill is talked about or, at least, sung about a lot at this time of year. But to coin a phrase, goodwill should be for life not just for Christmas. How much nicer could life be if we all showed that little more tolerance and forbearance towards each other? Is your life so busy, so rushed, that you can’t show a stranger the kindness of holding a door open for them? Are you so stuck in your own importance that you can’t say thank you when someone shows a similar kindness to you? I don’t think, when we come to consider it, that any of us are.
And what goes out also surely must go in. Call it mindfulness, call it self-care, I call it kindness; kindness to ourselves. Turn down that inner voice that criticises you & says you aren’t good enough and turn up the one that praises & appreciates. We are all worth a smile in the mornings, all worth the kindness of a stranger, all very definitely worth the beaming smile of a young child. If you would show such a kindness to another, be them your friend, your lover, or someone you have never even met, then please show the same kindness, the same goodwill, to yourself.
I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, as I tend to favour trying and changing and doing all year round. But if you are then please consider showing goodwill to be one of yours. And if you’re not then consider doing it anyway. Imagine all those circles of kindness borne away on the ether and think how many more beaming smiles they could generate.
Happy New Year.