This isn’t a long post where I pretend to be perfect or have figured out life at 32…that’s laughable at best. I won’t be giving you a 5 step program on how to be a better you. But, there are days I like to focus on reflection or rather reflection likes to focus on me.
From what I’ve learned, some of the quotes out there or what they imply about kindness are not my experience with the word or what it truly means to “live kindness”.
Kindness is not easy, simple or fair. It will ask you to reach down into the empty well of your soul and bring up a full pail of water for someone else who just handed you a concrete bucket. But, it may be the single most important thing we ever do.
First, let’s talk about how easy it is to be kind to someone who is being kind towards us. I find it exhilerating to exchange kindness with those willing to give the same in return. I walk away feeling rejuvenated, spiritually sound and peaceful. For most of us, this is easy. Some people are so heavy and damaged, they will find this even daunting, but I digress.
But, what about when we are faced with someones “stuff” that they are unloading onto our spirit? It’s at this point that this whole “kindness thing” is an entirely different beast to wrestle. And some days, the reality is, we will loose. The bear will win and all we can do is damage control. To be clear, I’m not advocating for someone to abuse you or manipulate you or cause you any other harm. You should not be a human doormat. That causes a whole host of other internal issues, which I’m not getting into today.
But, what I am saying is that we can learn to listen and respectfully disagree if need be. There are times people will dump on you and they are just plain wrong. For example, the person that tries to force blame on another entity after feeding the birds and looses a finger while standing in front of a sign that states, “do not feed the aggressive birds, you may loose more than a finger”. No one wants to be wrong and let alone admit it, that’s human nature. This is probably the most common in my experience. And a lot of people on the receiving end do not slow down to keep it together in these situations. They rage back or crumple in defeat. But, there is a third option and it boils down to boundaries.
The goal is to, clearly and with empathy, explain your boundaries. Because when we rage or crumple, we have given all of our energy and power over the situation away to someone else. Sometimes, the thing we must do is to simply stand. Every action doesn’t need you to swing the pendulum from one side to the other. Sometimes, the best option is to be water: a neutralizing party. Because sometimes the well is empty for us too and just managing to scrape up what little water we have for someone else is what we both need.
And for those of us who are a shot of whiskey, like myself, we’re working on it. We’ll probably be working on it until the dawn of time, but we’re working.
Kindness is hard, complex and usually unfair.
It will ask you to be something for someone else that you may have a hard time being for yourself.
But, it is so important for your journey as a fellow human.
May we spread as much kindness to others as we spread to ourselves and may we water our garden of kind thoughts and actions daily. -MJ