The fifth week of the Kindness Challenge, created by Niki of The Richness of a Simple Life, is about Choosing Kindness. It’s not always easy to be kind :
Week 5 Theme | Choosing Kindness
This week, we are going to focus on choosing to be kind, not that you aren’t already! Whether choosing to be kind in small ways that you might already do like smiling at strangers or doing random acts of kindness like leaving positive notes on a mirror in a public restroom. At the end of the day, you never know how something so small might impact someone. Not only will focus on being kind, the challenge is to do so when it’s especially hard. It might be by being polite to someone who is rude to us, it might be by going out of our way for someone who we feel doesn’t “deserve” it, it might be by practicing patience. Each day, we find ourselves in situations that kindness can be extended. I’d like for us to identify the times we might let our humanity get the best of us and choose to react instead of respond. Let us try to respond to every opportunity with kindness. Read More
Read more about this week’s challenge, including a ‘must-see video’ and useful exercise, HERE
Realism. To me another key element regarding Kindness, especially in our encounters with others. I think we all know that it is easier said than done, to place yourself in the other persons’ shoes. If a person doesn’t smile back at you, or return your friendly ‘hello’, it can be awkward or even a bit frustrating, but easier to understand, because we all have those days we just don’t feel like being friendly, being kind.
However, being kind to someone who purposely hurts another living creature, that seems impossible.
Being kind to another isn’t only about forgiveness or doing a kind act. It is also about realism: there are behaviors, which are just NOT OK. That doesn’t mean we should react in an eye-for-an-eye way ourselves. Because, let’s be real: If someone inflicts pain on a loved one, our (natural) instinct is to harm that someone, and probably even do worse.
Being kind in a situation like that seems impossible, but at the same time I believe returning violence – mental /emotional, or physical – with violence isn’t the answer. From my own experience I can tell you, it is only satisfactory for a short moment of time, but it won’t resolve anything. In my case, I had used the same emotional pain inflicted upon me, in an attempt to make the other persons understand they hurt me to my core and for too long. I felt even worse!
Distance yourself from people who are violent, harmful, pain-inflicting on purpose. Take the necessary steps to make sure they can’t continue with that behavior.
In personal situations; literally distance yourself. I am all for connecting with each other, trying to heal relationships, but sometimes it is more kind for all persons involved to disconnect. Let each other just be; without being involved in each others lives.
In worldly situations; let the appropriate people take the necessary steps. True, justice-systems, legal-systems, police-forces, politicians, etc. are not flawless, but again: an eye-for-an-eye isn’t the way. Support each other in non-violent ways, stand up together harmless in harmony. Fight the system (if necessary) not by being judgmental, but via searching for compromises and sustainable solutions.
At the same time, we should also be realistic about who we are: Human Beings, part of nature. We have the right to defend ourselves; like lions biting each others throats literally, may not be the right way for our species. However, terrorists, for instance, seem to have forgotten we have evolved: putting a soulless murderer (if guilty without any doubt) in jail for life could be an alternative for ‘the-eye-for-an-eye’.
But then again… I wrote this piece last year and re-posted it after the terrorist attack in Berlin:
I don’t believe in (a) God. Shoot me.
I believe in the power of nature. Shoot me.
I don’t believe violence is the answer. Shoot me.
I believe in open minded communication. Shoot me.
I don’t believe killing creatures will give you control. Shoot me.
I believe keep on living and loving will defeat the darkness. Shoot me.
I am not an aggressive person: if my loved ones are harmed…will I shoot?
Being kind to our ‘kind’ is about continuously finding ways to deal with both our positive and negative sides by being non-judgmental, authentic, emphatic, loving AND by being