Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. -
~ Author, Leo Buscaglia
Something Wrong With Being Kind?
What is wrong with being kind? On the surface it may seem like a dumb questions. Most of us would immediately reply with the one word answer: “nothing;” meaning there is nothing wrong with being kind. Actually the question may on the surface seem stupid or ridiculous. You may think kindness is always a right thing, not wrong thing.
But is that how we really see it? What about if we ask ourselves that same question just after thinking of someone who has done us wrong, or hurt us in some way. Would be then offer a caveat to the answer, and instead say: kindness is right except in this particular case. Would we then frame the concept of kindness in a conditional mindset, meaning it would not apply with respect to this specific person.
What about being kind to a person you can’t stand? Is that a different story? Is it wrong to be kind to that person? Do we make some exceptions with regard to whom we will extend acts of kindness? Do we not sometimes attach a string to our kindness? When we are kind to some people, are we not expectant of something in return? If someone is really irksome, can you offer kindness to that person without expecting reciprocity? At minimum you might expect this person to at least acknowledge your kindness with some minimal response. You may think that he or she should offer in return, a sincere thank you.
An act of kindness that is extended with the right intention is a real expression of love. Kindness expressed in this way is connected to no expectations. No strings are attached. Simply we give without wanting anything back. We do not look for the receiver to offer anything in return. A kind thought or gesture is offered without any wish to benefit.
If you have difficulty offering kindness to a particular person or group, here are a few thoughts that I put together to help you.
Remember that this person or group is doing the best they can. They are not deliberately making your life difficult, rather they are just trying to bring love and happiness into their own life. Sometimes, unfortunate the only way we can feel good about who we are is to put blame on someone else. It’s not right, but never the less this type of behavior is not unusual.
Give yourself a long runway. Don’t expect to immediately experience some idea or feeling that just nullifies your automatic response to the thought of another person. You may think of a person and believe that he or she does not deserve kindness. Kindness is an expression of love and everyone deserves to be loved. An airplane requires a runway in order to get off the ground and into the air. You may have issues that are of such magnitude that you just cannot extend kindness to a particular person. Being of that mind frame is not unusual. So instead of overtly offering kindness, do so in thought. Think to yourself: I offer you kindness. Put the image of the person in your mind and say again and again: I give you kindness. Before the kindness concept may be able to fly, you may have to devote some mental effort to getting up to speed. But without the effort made privately, in your mind, the idea is doomed to being grounded.
Spend some time doing the ground work. Before flying, pilots learn fundamental skills and practices from books, in class, and in a simulator. Before taking to the sky they become familiar with the workings of the airplane, and air currents. You can do the same in regards to kindness. Before actually extending an act of kindness to the person with whom you would find difficult doing so, practice first with someone of less difficulty. Offer kindness to people of neutral influence, those with whom you have no history. And do the same with friends and family members with whom you are congenial terms.
Practice safe piloting. When the “difficult” person is in your midst, and the time is right, and after much private practice, extend a small act of kindness. Like a fledgling pilot, take it easy. Don’t make alarming moves or put yourself in a desperate situation. Offer kindness but don’t try to overextend yourself. Don’t force yourself to do something that is beyond your capability. Develop your skills slowly and certainly. After a small act of kindness, make a retreat. There will be another time and another situation in which you can extend yet another similar gesture.
Avoid second-guessing. During this entire process from its inception onward, you may think or act in a way that will make you feel guilty because of your historical unwillingness to be kind. Or you may want to relapse, and fall back to again condemning the person that you are experiencing difficulties with. Avoid thoughts that cast a shadow on your intention to be kind. Think only of kindness. Think only kind thoughts. If you do fall from the horse get right back in the saddle. Your ultimate success is inevitable. Take time, expend the energy, and focus your effort.
Apply the golden rule. Offer the same consideration to others that you like to receive. You are the key. Kindness begins with you. Open your mind to kind thoughts, and then act in a kindly manner. Remain optimistic. You will backslide. When you do, simply change your mind. Catch yourself as you think ill thoughts of another, and replace these wrong-minded thoughts with loving thoughts. The rest will unfold on its own. Know this: God is the love in you, and the love in you cannot be defeated.
- Don ¤¤¤
“If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.” – Bob Hope
“If you meditate, sooner or later you will come upon love. If you meditate deeply, sooner or later you will start feeling a tremendous love arising in you that you have never known before.” - Osho