What would it look like if people stopped focusing on looking self important? If we took time to pay attention to and listen to people that could do very little for us? If we showed our children our undivided attention? If no matter how tired we are, we mustered up what little energy we had, for a family member even more tired?
A friend just died of a heart attack leaving behind his 11 year old son. His son begged to see the body so he could kiss his father one last time. My daughter made a new friend at school, but she was just diagnosed with leukemia; she’s only 12. As a counselor I hear the best, and the worst, of humanity; with topics ranging from severe childhood abuse to debilitating mental health issues.
People become mean and hateful over money, love and for no particular reason other than a need to feel superior. We judge. We shame. We thwart. We may do it consciously, or worse, may be unaware of our own cruelty.
What if, no matter what, we decide to be kind? We seek to understand. We drop false pride and lift up humility; as a gift for others to witness. We open our heart. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We give our time.
“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” – Bryant H. McGill
The next time we are tempted to pull out our domination arsenal of shame, guilt, rage (or whatever tool we use to force compliance or fealty) what would it look like to respond with kindness? What would it look like if we responded with humility when someone attempts to dominate us? They may see a humble response as weakness and a triumph over us. They may see our response as a problem solved; we are back where they want us. Our humble response may even elevate their opinion of us.
“Be kind. Work hard. And Amazing things will happen.” Conan O’Brien
Regardless, what matters is our internal reset of stepping back into our power. No one can really take advantage of us. New partners, new careers or new opportunities will present themselves if we continue to refine our own internal well being. If we focus on being self important and knocking others back into their place we may find our mental health and sense of well being becoming corrupted. On the other hand, if we learn to step back and focus on simply being kind, we may find life much easier, and the players around us naturally slide into harmony because we spread good will in our sphere of influence.
“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue within consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” – Maya Angelou