I think kindness is highly underrated and also one of the most important things ever.
And I say that because I’m not a kind person.
And I’m NOT saying that because I want you all to contradict me and tell me how kind I actually am.
I’m not a kind person. Kindness does not come naturally to me.
Kissing up comes naturally.
Avoiding conflict comes naturally.
Being polite comes naturally.
Feeling guilty comes naturally.
But I work at it because I want to be kinder. I work at it because I really do think it is one of the most important things ever. I work at it because, as someone who perpetually struggles to see in black and white those matters which are distinctly gray, kindness is the only filter that makes sense to me. If, when I die, the only thing that people remember about me was that I was a kind person, I think I would be okay with that.
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon looking up quotes about kindness on Pinterest. I printed out some of my favorites and put them up around my cubicle. It looks a little cheesy, but the reminders are for my own benefit. Here are some of the ones that I put up:
I have this quote posted in two different places in my cubicle, because I liked it so much.
I know there’s going to be some snark-ass smarty-poop who will inevitably come up with obvious instances to disprove the “every time” generality of this quote. I’m familiar with the concept of sweeping generalizations. I know them when I see them. But there is so much right to this, that if you’re just focusing on when it is wrong, then you’ve totally missed the point.
(Also, I apparently cannot even write a post about kindness without resorting to preemptive name-calling)
As a chronically guilty person, I need this reminder every now and then to just give myself a break. Otherwise, I wear myself out agonizing over every little thing that I am doing wrong or have done wrong in the past. The ability to be kind to yourself shows a certain self-respect and self-worth. How can you be kind to other people if you don’t even know how to be kind to yourself?
Who am I to judge? Who am I to presume that I know your full story? I would rather give you the benefit of the doubt on the assumption that what I can see is but a part of the bigger picture. We are so quick to over-simplify each other, to jump to conclusions, and to use those conclusions to form judgments.
Kindness is grace in action.