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A slice of C.A.K.E. is a serving of compassion, acceptance, kindness, or empathy which may be served by a friend, family member, or another person whom we do not even know. It can come as an unexpected kind gesture or a sense that another person really understands or cares. It is always possible for us to give or to receive, but there are times it can seem out of reach. How can we make sure everyone feels comfortable serving and receiving a piece of C.A.K.E.?
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You might think cake is a celebratory treat but our C.A.K.E. is created by our actions in order to help others.
This could be a thoughtful behavior that makes others feel cared for, noticed, and not so alone in their life’s journey.
For example, a friend who modifies her dog walking schedule so that you could walk together, an isolated family member who trusts you with a sensitive story, a neighbor who asks if you need anything from the grocery store before they head out. A child’s naturally kind gesture - they might drag the recycling buckets back to the house from the street because they feel good about being helpful. Perhaps it is noticing the person who looks different from others, sitting next to them, and saying hello. It might just be smiling at a stranger or standing up for someone who is being bullied. It could be standing against discrimination based on someone’s appearance, mental state, or other quality.
There are times that we would love some C.A.K.E. but are unable to let someone know we need a slice. Perhaps the idea of getting out of bed is a challenge or we don’t want to share our burdens with another person. It may feel difficult to notice or acknowledge the receipt of a slice of C.A.K.E; we just feel too low or alone to know it is sitting there on our table. Sometimes C.A.K.E. truly feels like it isn’t available to us. We can feel trapped in our lives, days when it feels difficult to think beyond our worries and give to others because we are overwhelmed by our mental or physical condition.
Some people would love to offer CAKE to others but feel unsure how. Sharing CAKE with someone would be nice but how does one go about it? By perusing the Westfield Mental Health Website, you will find ideas, articles, and support for your questions and concerns.
Everyone. Westfield Mental Health Council offers resources and support so that everyone can learn how to offer and obtain Compassion, Acceptance, Kindness, and Empathy. Reminders around town will pop up with a CAKE design on a pallet, banner, window clings, or really tiny pieces of cake!
Please email examples of CAKE actions you have noticed. We also seek suggestions of where CAKE might be missing or needed. This is the beginning of a running conversation about people from Westfield making this town a more stigma-free and CAKE-filled community.
When times are difficult, our common human response is not to show a reckless disregard for others but to show compassion. Teaching kids compassion during this pandemic is an opportunity for them to deepen their sense of care. Read Greater Good Magazine.
Accepting people where or who they are, rather than where or who we want them to be, leads to better personal and professional relationships. Read A Conscious Rethink.
When someone expresses their vulnerability, a necessary response of curiosity leads us to empathy, humility, and compassion. Read the Harvard Business Review.