World Kindness Day
If the world was kind, would eating disorders be as prevalent? Would mental health conditions be endemic? Of course, we don’t know the answers to these hypothetical questions. And sadly, we live in a world that isn’t always kind. The news cycle is evidence of this.
World Kindness Day is on November 13. It has been used to promote kindness for 25 years through the World Kindness Movement. Its mission is to ‘inspire individuals towards greater kindness and to connect nations to create a kinder world’. Placing kindness on the agenda is something most world citizens would support. Kindness for all…young people, older people, girls and women, boys and men, non-binary people.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
– Aesop, Ancient Greek storyteller, 620–564 BC
Kindness is a fundamental part of being human and it can unite those of different races, religions, politics, sexualities, genders or cultures. The theme for 2023 is ‘be kind wherever possible’ and we are encouraged to act with kindness every day, not just on World Kindness Day. It is a reminder to embrace kindness as a way of life, to foster a world where compassion, empathy, and goodwill thrive in our homes and community.
When it comes to eating disorders, these typically vulnerable and sensitive people need extra kindness. As do their carers. Leading with kindness is self-evident, but also an action that can be mindfully practised. It is a muscle, that if used, grows.
Eva Musby is a globally regarded expert in parental care of a loved one with an eating disorder (ED). Her compassion-led approach is based on years of personal experience, informed by research, and supported by a network of parents and professionals across the world. It is also based on kindness.
Eva Musby promotes self-compassion for the carer ‘treating yourself with kindness’ and to ‘Connect before you Direct’. She explains this as ‘connect compassionately to your child (Love. Compassionate. Kind. Listen) before you direct (Advise. Act. Firm. Persistent)’.
Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA) is the only national organisation with a sole focus of supporting families and carers of people with eating disorders. EDFA’s mission is underpinned by two fundamentals: lived-experience and kindness. EDFA believes ‘family is at the heart of treatment’ and is dedicated to providing lived-experience support, information, validation, education, and advocacy to empower families and carers in their journeys with their loved ones.
Walk gently on World Kindness Day, and every day either side. Remember there are small acts you can do to practise kindness. If you are in the depths of caring for a loved one with an eating disorder, try these three, simple things:
- be kind to yourself; practise self-compassion
- model kindness for your loved ones
- show empathy and kindness towards your loved one and their internal battle.
During and/or following your loved one’s journey of recovery:
- do random acts of kindness
- learn about the science of kindness
- advocate for systemic change so that eating disorders are viewed with kindness.
Are you an eating disorder carer who needs more kindness and support in your life?
Join EDFA’s free Facebook Forum
Join our private EDFA Facebook forum for parents, guardians, partners, adult siblings, extended family members or friends (residing in Australia), who care for or support an individual living with an eating disorder. We share hope and optimism that recovery is possible, and through our supportive and kind community, carers feel less alone.
Become an EDFA member today and receive access to a wide range of resources, over 160 hours of EDucation webinars, and more.
Blog written by EDFA Volunteer Karina Smith