Be Kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.~Ian Macleran
Somewhere along the path of humanity, we have forgotten how to be kind. it is easy to be anything else: confident, strong, a leader, an advocate, determined, hard working, right… But even with all these things, one can still be kind. So why has kindness fallen from human nature?
Every day and in every moment, there is an opportunity to show kindness to the people around us. When I reflect on the times in my life that I have not chosen kindness in my interactions, I realize that the omission of kindness (or even the outright decision not to be kind) almost always stems from my own anger, resentment, or disappointment about situations in my own life. Why should I be kind to people when people aren’t kind to me? It’s the old “eye for an eye” argument… or more accuratre, its the idea of “paying forward” the shit life hands to you.
What if we stop and think about why we don’t regularly choose kindness in our daily interactions, it should be easy to understand why other’s do the same. We can gain understanding into why kindness has slowly been sapped from our everyday lives. It’s because everyone has something they struggle with in their own life: something that is unfair, unwarranted, difficult to manage, something that consumes their mind and eats away at their self confidence and worth. And, it is from that core of difficulty in ones life that makes kindness seem unfair.
I try hard to repeat this quote in my head every day and in every interaction I have with people, especially those who frustrate me. It reminds me to take a step back from a person, pretend that they are dealing with the same struggles and issues that I am, assume that their actions and behaviours are a direct reflection of their own frustrations, and then imagine how I would want to be treated in that situation, if I was them. This sounds onerous, I know. However, it is the first step in creating a habit of kindness.
Perhaps the person standing in front of me, or on the other end of the phone line, or that person sitting behind the counter is having a bad day. Perhaps they are working a job that doesn’t make them happy but is necessary for them so support their family. Perhaps they are taking out their frustrations on you or the people around them for no other reason than that they have no where else to take it out. Anything other than kindness towards these people would only bring them further down. And, even more meaningful is the possibility that a simple act of kindness from someone around them could change the course of their day.
So, whenever you can (which should be always), make a choice to be kind – even if you don’t think people deserve it. It might just make the difference that changes a person’s life. I work hard to be part of the kindness solution with the hopes that it will also encourage others to be kind as well.