I'm part of the Health and Social Care Academy team so I'm not able to take part in the creative competition we have just launched but I'm keen to write something as the questions really made me think. What changes would make a difference to my life? What would a healthier or fairer Scotland mean for me?
I found myself focussing on what a healthier Scotland would mean to me. And yes we all know now that exercising more, eating less processed high calorie foods, drinking less alcohol and less high calorie soft drinks would make us healthier but I'm wondering if there is something even more fundamental than that.
When we know that loneliness is a major concern across all age groups, when stress and mental health issues are at epidemic levels in our schools, workplaces and for those on low incomes too; then external solutions cannot be the only solutions. Something deeper needs to shift in our society. It's complicated at some levels but I suspect at another level it's actually very simple.
My simple solution would be for us all just to try a little kindness.
OK stay with me, I know that makes me sound like the ageing hippy I am but close your eyes for a moment and picture your workplace where everyone works well and is kind to each other, see the schools and universities where learning is fostered and kindness is the norm, benefit systems that respond to need kindly without judgement, neighbours who lookout for each other with kindly intent, care systems where kindness is fundamental to all they do....are you still with me? As you imagine that how do you feel? We're you smiling as you pictured it? I was.
Now I'm not suggesting the shallow kindness of "have a nice day" or a like on a Facebook page, what I mean is the kindness that does the honour and respect of honesty, that shows compassion ( in sense of being alongside another in their suffering), that is willing to work beyond self interest for the greater good, where everyone matters; that's the kindness I think could fundamentally make the difference to us all. And that wouldn't just make Scotland healthier but fairer too.
And as my recovery from breast cancer goes on its the kindnesses that stand out. The kindness of my wonderful family, the friends who look out for me, the work colleagues whose support and flexibility has made all the difference, the surgeon who organised my surgery so I was able to enjoy birthday celebrations with those I love, and the team who made it clear that I'm not just a number. It's kindness that has been more therapeutic as any medicine. And I'm grateful beyond words for that.....for me it's made all the difference.
You may say I'm a dreamer .....but as the song said.....I'm not the only one. And it's something we don't need to wait for the government to do or legislate for we just need to start with ourselves. Now there's a thought..
If you want to join our creative competition here's how to do it .....it's a great way to have your voice heard, whoever you are and what I do know from all the years I have worked with the Alliance is that all our voices can collectively make the difference we want.