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Confidence Challenge Feb ’15: Give kindness anonymously and enjoy secret self-satisfaction

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015



Last week I heard a lovely Valentine story, which gave me the idea for this month’s Confidence Challenge. Just hearing it, I felt uplifted so I hope you will too.

A few days ago, I rang an elderly friend of mine who has been very unwell for a number of weeks. She lives on her own and is normally a fun, active person with a full diary. She didn’t take well to be confined to bed and her spirits had been quite down the last time I had visited her. When she answered the phone I immediately noticed a difference. There was more energy in her voice. Yes, she was recovering physically but I knew something else must have changed too. I soon found out what it was because she was so keen to tell me her “funny story”.

On the evening of Valentine’s day she opened the door and there was a delivery man standing there holding an enormous bunch of red roses and a very large box of chocolates and a card. My friend said there must be a mistake. Although the address he had was indeed hers, she knew that there was no way the delivery was for her. She asked him to check with her neighbours.

A little later the man reappeared. He had checked in her street and no-one said it could be for them. So my friend decided to open the card to see who it was from. She found that it wasn’t signed. It was then that she learned that Valentine cards and gifts are meant to be sent anonymously! She didn’t know this because she had never received one in her life before.

My friend decided to relieve the man of his rejected delivery and enjoy the roses and chocolates. And, with a slightly naughty as well as laughing tone in her voice she told me that the roses looked wonderful and the chocolates were delicious. She added that she was quickly working her way through the entire box!

I will probably never know who sent this Valentine surprise. But I imagine whoever it was would be feeling a wonderful warm glow as they imagined the pleasure their gift would be giving my friend. My guess is that this person was probably someone who knew my friend well. They may or may not have heard that she had never before received a Valentine’s card or present. But I am pretty sure they would have known how low my friend had been recently, and that she really needed a treat. I guess they knew her well enough to know that she would enjoy the mysteriousness that accompanied this loving gesture.

My friend’s story stayed with me over this week. I found myself thinking again and again about the power little acts of anonymous kindness have to uplift our own spirits. My thoughts prompted me to take some action too. For example, one day I found myself feeling revolted by encountering a very dirty toilet. Normally I would have simply moved on to use another, but this time I decided to put a warning note on the door of the offending toilet. And then a couple of days ago, I was irritated to see our dustbin collectors had again dropped litter on our pavement. Although I was in a hurry, this time I did pick it up and place it in a bin.

I know I am sharing these two mini good turns with you now but I only decided to do so today. They were done without any intention of sharing them. I am not claiming that, as a result there was a big transformation in my self-esteem. However, I do know that self-esteem which is at the heart of confidence is built securely and effectively by mini changes to our habitual behaviour. I must now make doing these little kindnesses a regular habit.

So here is your Confidence Challenge for this month:

  •  look out over the next few weeks for  opportunities to perform some mini acts of anonymous kindness  to your friends, family, colleagues and fellow citizens
  •  notice your thoughts and feeling afterwards
  •  resist telling anyone about what you did in case they reward you with a compliment!
  • Enjoy your secret self-satisfaction without depleting it by knocking yourself for not behaving like this more often. (You don’t have to be a saint to have healthy self-esteem.)


Lots of luck …and don’t forget you can post any comments or your own tips below


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7 Responses to “Confidence Challenge Feb ’15: Give kindness anonymously and enjoy secret self-satisfaction”

  1. Eve says:

    Thank you for your kind words tomy action shots! You know I love photography, but only recently took my very first class. I adore the bench posts and they always make me wish I was able to travel to visit them all. I may have found you via Malyss's Bench blog in the bean.niignTodgy it is the last photo here that made me say WOW!

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    Well, you’ll not get this contemplative “turning cartwheels ‘cross the (lobby) floor,” any time soon; not with my back! Doesn’t it look great, though. I’m looking forward to seeing it all completed, manifestations and all.

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    How nice to have all that spinach at your fingertips Angie! I see lots of spinach recipes in our future. I love this one with the sweet potatoes and feta! All the flavors sound delicious together.

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