What is goodwill?
It is often said that Christmas is the season of goodwill; likewise, the phrase ‘goodwill to all men’ is synonymous with the festive period. The phrase originates from the book of Luke from the New Testament and is linked to the idea of peace on earth.
The term itself suggests acts of benevolence towards others and a kindly attitude towards people. We often hear the phrase ‘as a gesture of goodwill’ within society, however, it is usually when a company has done something wrong and they are trying to restore faith with a customer by giving them something for free.
Sometimes I feel like the idea of showing goodwill towards people has become an old-fashioned concept, especially in our society of commercialism and consumerism which tends to promote the ‘survival of the fittest’ concept. So as Christmas approaches do we need to make a concerted effort to show more goodwill towards our fellow man (or woman).
What is in it for me?
If you are asking that question then maybe you have missed the point; life is not all about you and what you stand to gain from the situation. Everything we do, positive or negative, has an effect on both ourselves and on others; that bit of litter you casually throw on the floor has to be picked up by somebody just like opening a door for someone or giving up your seat on the train can offer a ray of light in someone else’s dreary day.
Kindness never hurt anyone
I am a person that strongly believes in being kind to others and helping where I can and in what little way I can to make someone’s life a little bit brighter, life is a tough business to navigate at times and the more help you can get, the better. I have taken this mantra throughout the majority of my life; have I been too kind and trusting sometimes, yes, have I given goodwill to others and then had it rejected or ridiculed, yes, have people used my goodwill or seen it as a weakness, heck yes, would I ever stop showing goodwill, never.
I am who I am because I show others kindness and goodwill and although it can often be taken advantage of, of which Mr T gets very frustrated about, I refuse to live in a world where people do not show empathy and understanding to others. Being able to show empathy and understanding for other peoples needs as well as your own is what I believe the concept of goodwill is; it cannot be bought, it comes from within that person.
Money cannot buy Goodwill
Many people donate to charity to ‘do their bit for the world’ but then find themselves unable to show basic respect and compassion to the people around them, this makes me immensely sad. Likewise, people mistake being generous with money and gifts as an act of Goodwill if you are doing it for any gain for yourself then is it really Goodwill? Showing Goodwill can be just something as simple a saying hello to someone and smiling or being there for them when they need somebody or helping them in some little while to make things easier.
You are fortunate, share it
Sometimes we lose sight of how fortunate we actually are in our lives. I often complain about things such as work and having enough time to do everything I want but then I realise that I am fortunate to have some of these aspects to complain about as many other people do not. My children often make things harder and sometimes it’s a struggle but I am so fortunate to have them and I’m grateful for it. Focusing on the positives shows me how fortunate I actually am; to have a job, to have a roof over my head and to have a beautiful family. Embracing how fortunate you are means you can truly show empathy to others and show goodwill in whatever way possible.
What can we do to show goodwill to others?
Showing goodwill, doesn’t have to cost the Earth it can be simply giving up your time or doing an act of kindness to improve someone else’s life, it can be as simple as a smile or a gesture to show that you care. Here are a few examples of how you can show Goodwill towards others:
1) Smile and say hello, ask them how they are doing and listen to what they have to say.
2) Pay them a compliment, no matter how small, make somebodies day.
3) Show you understand their situation; if someone is going through a bad time, a simple card, letter or note can show you understand how they feel and are there for them. Even if it’s a post-it note to a work colleague saying ‘hold on, you can get through this’ will help them battle on.
4) Cheap but cheerful gift; I have sent people things like chocolate or a little badge/trophy that was very cheap, but sent as a light-hearted joke can make a person’s day. I once gave my boss a tiny trophy for getting through the week as things had been really stressful, she loved it and still keeps it.
5) Giving up your seat to someone who needs it on the bus/train, if you can stand up then please think of others. I remember being 7 months pregnant and standing on a full bus, nobody offered me a seat, despite them being able to. Eventually, an older man insisted I sit with his wife while he stood up, it made afternoon.
6) Letting people out when in the car; there is nothing worse than being sat at a junction and nobody letting you get into the queue, let one person out and don’t just ignore them.
7) Give someone your time whether it is helping them rearrange furniture or having a natter; giving people a little bit of your time can mean everything to the people around you.
So, as the holiday season approaches, make life a little kinder and show some goodwill to others, it doesn’t have to cost the earth, it just involves time. What ideas do you have for sharing goodwill, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Ciao for now beauties xx
What is goodwill?