“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” –Maya Angelou
Kindness—the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate—is something that humans are consistently taught from the day they are born. Whether it is sharing your toys in preschool, respecting the thoughts and opinions of others throughout high school, or complimenting your co-worker’s new haircut, kindness is implemented into our brains at a very early age and taught to be practiced in daily living. However, as years and time go by, many people lose sight of what it means to be kind.
The importance of kindness in today’s society is essential for individuals to reach their full potential. Often, thoughts of kindness can be directly related to being naïve, or weak. However, this is far from true. Kindness is a deep-rooted interpersonal skill requiring strength, courage, and bravery. Being a University student, and experiencing first-hand the pressures and stresses that life demands, it is understood how easy it can be to get wrapped up in your own personal routine and dismiss the world around you. However, I have learnt and experienced that a simple smile can go a long way. As the well-known cliché goes, “you never know what’s going on behind closed doors”—everyone is fighting their own battles and struggling with personal difficulties that they choose hide from the world. A small gesture, a smile, or a random act of kindness, can mean more to someone than you realize. Kindness can change lives, promote personal growth, and strengthen our community. Try it, you could be the reason that someone smiles today.
I believe that there is a significant, direct relation between how you treat yourself, and how you treat the people around you. It is so important to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself in order to recognize how you relate to others. Self-care, while sometimes difficult, is crucial in flourishing the connection between your body and mind. You must first take care of yourself in order to reflect that peace of mind and kindness onto those around you.
NorWest Community Health Centres understands the importance of kindness and believes in the large impacts that small gestures can have. The staff members at NorWest value compassion and benevolence; this is then reflected through each client interaction. The model of health and wellbeing which Ontario Health Centres have adopted states that “our ultimate goal is for all people living in Ontario to live the healthiest, safest, and most prosperous lives as possible”. Without whole-hearted kindness from health-care providers and members of the community, this goal is much harder to reach. Community Health Centres across Ontario are united by distinct values and principles, including:
- Client and Community Centred Health and Wellbeing—allowing each client to individually and collectively participate in making decisions about their health and wellbeing
- Health Equity and Social Justice—believing that a reduction in social inequality improves health outcomes
- Community Vitality and Belonging—understanding the importance of community acceptance, a sense of belonging, and anti-oppressive environments.
Imagine a society with no judgements, pure acceptance, uplifting spirits, positive attitudes, and kindness. This ambition, while seemingly out of reach, provides hope and determination to so many of our marginalized clients as each kind gesture is a step towards this inspiring conception. As a student learner at this facility, I have had the opportunity to witness these values in action and experience first-hand the impact that kindness can have on so many diverse members of our community. It is evident that the well-developed interdisciplinary team at NorWest strives towards this very goal by providing exceptional client-centered care and never losing sight of what it means to be kind.
For more information on programs and services offered at the NorWest Community Health Centres, go to www.norwestchc.org or call us at 622-8235
This article was written by Jessica Sonego, a third year Social Work student at Lakehead University completing her first placement at NorWest Community Health Centres, Thunder Bay site.
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