Why Bother With Kindness?
There is a lot that one can take offense to these days, but when in history has this not been the case. No matter the era, the news headlines, or which political party has taken up residency in the Whitehouse, there is always a large number of distressed, annoyed, miffed and disgruntled people in the world. The key, I believe, is to not be counted among them, but rather to frame our thoughts differently from theirs.
The Magic of Kindness
Imagine for a moment, what it would be like if we were suddenly struck with the inability to think anything other than kind thoughts about someone. Envision the character, Fletcher Reed, in the movie Liar, Liar. His son’s birthday wish is that his dad would stop lying for twenty-four hours and suddenly, Fletcher, a lawyer can no longer lie. He can only speak the truth. It is a funny story with a sweet idea and a happy ending. But idealize for a moment, what it would be like to think only helpful and gentle thoughts toward someone else. Or take it one step further. Experiment for one day and apply kindness to every situation or person that feels offensive.
For example, when someone shares their point of view with you about a controversial topic in the news, and it differs from yours, try responding with an attitude of understanding. Nod your head, assuring them they’ve been heard without taking a defensive stance.
When driving your car, if another driver cuts you off, takes a parking space you had your eye on, or drives under the speed limit, let them have their way on the road. Back off, take a different route and make an allowance for their way of driving.
Kind thoughts toward those who have made accusations about you can be stickier. It is not uncommon to be misunderstood. People misinterpret another’s intentions all the time. But attempting to defend yourself may be a useless way to spend your time and energy. Instead, pause your cause. No one can force another to understand. Let the strong emotions attached to your ideals simmer down and try to communicate again, but at another time. In the meantime, don’t curse them, instead, try to think kind thoughts about them.
Kindness can be magical if we make it a practice. Think of extending some understanding, compassion, or gentleness in the next twenty-four hours and then watch how a distressed, annoyed, miffed or disgruntled individual can change. That individual might even be you.
Why bother with kindness? It is worth it to practice kindness and discover how a new way of thinking may cause a new way of doing.