Kindness from a stranger.

Kindness from a stranger can instantly alter your mood.Headteacher Ali Harrison

It’s strange how a random act of kindness from a stranger can instantly alter your mood.

It was the sort of serendipitous encounter that more of us would look for if we could foresee the life-changing potential of the gesture. And so yesterday, I felt at a very low point, imperceptible, I hoped. A mixture of the stress of a busy half term of constant firefighting rather than fulfilling any strategic vision and carrying the burden of an organisation’s problems meant I needed help to let go.

Coupled with my ongoing inner fight with surgical menopause symptoms (weight gain, low energy thanks to poor sleep, and joint pain, to name a few), reminded me daily that my body wasn’t what it used to be. Compounded by nagging self-doubt as the noise of my imposter syndrome reared its head again. My thoughts were becoming increasingly dark despite being abroad in the sunshine.

I had been here before and was trying to fight slipping into the shadows. And then, fate intervened in the form of an 83-year-old lady. She spotted me across the busy bar and approached, looking bright and confident.

The following words made me gasp, and I saw myself for the first time in weeks. She told me that the dress I was wearing looked stunning, that I had looked amazing every evening, and she looked forward to seeing what I was wearing each night. I thanked her and told her honestly how much I needed to hear that. She looked me in the eye, and her following words struck a chord. “Come on she said, “you’ve got this; shine bright”.

I do not know whether it was the motherly advice I have missed so much since my mum passed or the divine intervention of a kind stranger, I do not know. Still, I appreciate her kind connection with me and will look for ways to pay it forward. Judging by the number of dragonflies flying around me this morning, I know someone is reminding me to live life to the fullest and appreciate every moment. As a result, I make a promise to myself to be kinder to myself.

Headteacher Ali Harrison

Twitter @Alijayne1970

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