We can say practice kindness and be more kind but in my mind those are just words. The mom in me hears this instructional voice telling her son to be kind. Yet if he doesn’t know how to do that because he hasn’t seen it from me or he isn’t sure how to do it in the situation he is in then me telling him to be kind won’t help him. We ourselves have to demonstrate what that looks like and then maybe others will also follow us. I believe kindness is a wealth we withdraw from and use but it flows to the point of flooding around us when we share it. We can’t just demand it though because it just doesn’t work that way.
I think kindness is a natural behavior we all have in us but the world has not always been kind in return. Let me be more specific because Earth has always been kind to humans. It is fellow humans who have been assholes to each other and to Earth. It is us who are the problem. For whatever reason there is a great deal of unkindness in the world that we see and experience from each other. Enough of that and we ourselves stop believing in the spirit of people to be kind. For the people who overcome that and can remain kind down to their bones they are truly examples of what we should all strive to be like in my opinion.
From my own experience I know life is hard and people can be incredibly mean. We can assume positive intent or say they didn’t know better but I think this gives them too many excuses. They know what they’re doing and unless they are child age they should definitely know better. This happens because it is acceptable in our society to act a certain way towards others. In the workplace for instance we are told it’s not personal just business. This is code for yes I agree that was a shitty thing to do but since it’s business and for the betterment of the company, my career, is what my boss told me to do or simple because I want and can then it’s alright. Deal with it. That right there is the essence of where we have found it necessary to wear Be Kind t-shirts and post all over social media the necessity of being kind and it’s simply bs.
There are a couple things about this that make the entire be kind movement two-faced. First, usually the people talking about this are the ones who see injustices and are trying to stick up for someone else. That’s wonderful! There are two problems with this though. Most of the time for one thing they don’t know all the facts and it’s something they saw or read on social media that struck them as wrong. The see something say something mentality right? That’s a great first step but how about stepping into it and learning more, helping out and being kind yourself to change the circumstances that problem is occuring in. Most though just stop at the spreading kind messages on social media and thinking they are not part of the problem.
The second part of this is we think it is ok to force kindness to create equality. As a result, we have muddied the waters on some very serious societal problems that have created barriers where real conversations need to occur. Just be more kind. If you have more than someone thinks you deserve despite that you worked very hard for that and did it honestly then you are not being kind in agreeing to be taxed more. We have mistaken kindness for equality. Being kind doesn’t mean we also need to be equal. Equal is also a relative term. This is where my response is we should stop comparing ourselves to others and start living our own life being happy. Being happy, being kind and being equal are not mutually dependent on each other to exist.
Sometimes short trees don’t get the best view against the tall trees. A tree is still allowed to grow as tall as it can get sometimes with the support of other trees and sometimes without. Each tree though starts out with the same basic rights of being able to thrive where it is planted. The same goes with us. We can be nice to each other along the way but in the end sometimes there will be taller trees than our own and that’s alright.
To expand kindness in our society it starts with a personal responsibility acknowledgement that we have a role to play in that. That role extends beyond posting some nicety about it on social media or wearing the t-shirt. It is living naturally where we stop playing into the society norms of it being ok to be kind in one situation but not in another. Kindness isn’t self-serving and only available when it suits us. If we really want to be some teeth in the be kind movement then let us practice it daily ourselves. Let us stop being the mean, spiteful, cancel culture jerks we’re being and start actually being kind to others regardless of their political views, religious beliefs, vaccine concerns, lifestyle, career and financial assumptions and other biases we hold against each other!
Just be kind as in a real human being who is living their best life every day without imposing our own stuff onto others who do or believe it differently. That is what living naturally well looks like and it definitely feels better than a fake doing my thing post about kindness on social media while I trample someone because they disagree with me or think I don’t have a responsibility in the mess we find our world today.
Be real kind.
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