Be Kind

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

I’ve never heard truer words.

As children, one of the first things we’re taught is how to be kind. Why is it that as we grow older we forget?

I don’t think we really forget – it’s more like an erosion. We live in a culture where negativity chips away at us every day. Desperate housewives screaming on TV. Columnists and media make their point with visceral prose. Twitter erupts with instant gripes, opinions, and many times, knee jerk reactions.

It chips away at us like a sculptor with an ice pick until we’re so whittled down that our thoughts become:

How could he do that?

I deserve better than this!

Don’t they know they’re holding up the line?

What was that driver thinking?

How dare they!

This is totally unacceptable.

…..and the list goes on and on.

Kindness, on the other hand, is trying to see things from the other person’s point of view and dethroning yourself as the center of the universe.

They probably didn’t mean it that way.

I bet they’re just having a hard day.

It’s not the end of the world.

There could be something else going on.

And there usually is.

Kindness isn’t making excuses for abusive people – it’s simply cutting the people you meet some slack.

The more I learn about people, the more I am convinced that, in general, everyone is going through something.

Lonlieness, marriage trouble, stomach problems, chronic pain, cancer, financial stress, infertility, broken relationships – everyone you meet usually has something going on beneath the surface.

Nothing reminds us of this more than the recent Robin Williams suicide.

Was it a “disease” that killed Robin Williams? Was it a desperate act?

Does it matter?

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Kindness and gentleness are two oft-overlooked fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control.

Often overshadowed by love, faith and peace, kindness is a virtue we need to extend to our fellow human beings every day. One of the “simpler” virtues, kindness is a muscle that must be flexed in order to be used – it will atrophy otherwise.

Judging from the amount of road rage, twitter rants, workplace squabbles and bruised egos, some of the healthiest among us are also some of the most fiercely out of shape.

I challenge you to do the 7-Day Kindness Challenge. The terms are simple – for one week, exercise extreme kindness to everyone you meet. Everyone.

You can do anything for seven days, right?

Write it down if you like – you’ll be amazed at what you uncover.

For some this may mean slowing down, for others, stifling defensive impulses. For others, seeing needs you’ve never thought of before.

Whatever it means to you, there’s one underlying mandate:

Be kind.