In my learnings on accepting that some people are too self-absorbed to think of others and therefore learning to not believe in their potential but in who they really are, I’ve learnt that the hardest experience now is to be kind anyway. So let’s delve into this idea of kindness. How can you be kind to people who are not kind to you?
Does being kind mean putting others needs above your own? Does it mean putting up with other people’s nonsense continously? Does it mean being soft-spoken and gentle, always? OR does it mean allowing others to do as they please even if you are the one being used?
Nah, I don’t think so. I think, like everything else in life, it has to start with you first. If you cannot be kind to yourself, how can you be kind to others?
So what is kindness? I believe it’s the ability to be the best version of yourself and therefore allowing the same of others. Why? Because the best form of kindness is honesty, compassion and of course love. If you cannot be honest with yourself, how can you be honest with others? If you cannot have compassion for yourself, how can you have compassion for others? If you cannot love yourself, how can you love others?
If we strive to be the best versions of ourselves, then we want and allow others to be the same. And ever heard of that saying, “you have to be cruel to be kind”? Sometimes this is true. Because cruelty may come in the form of having to provide a hard message to someone about themselves, or saying something the other person may not want to hear. Kindness is sometimes about allowing the other person to grow on their own (because remember, we can’t change people). Do you help others to make yourself feel better or because the other person genuinely needs your help? Are you making yourself a crutch? Are you making the other person dependant on you? If so, you’re not being kind. You’re being selfish.
Still not getting my point across? Okay, let’s try it with an example: Let’s say you’re in a relationship and your partner cannot cook tasty food…okay, let’s say they just always end up burning some part of the food. And you continuously tell your partner how well they cook. Now imagine, you have friends over and your partner insists on cooking for them. You panic. Your partner however is oblivious because they think they could win Master Chef and well those friends…let’s just say they only ever meet up at restaurants in future. Your partner doesn’t understand why, questions themselves, starts feeling insecure but continues to cook badly anyway because you wouldn’t lie, would you?
Ask yourself…were you really being kind by lying (yes, you were lying) to your partner? How different woud it have been if you had spoken the truth, albeit in a gentle manner? If your partner was mature enough to ask the question and deal with the truth then they’d learn to cook better or if not, they’d be upset at your honesty and never cook again. Either way, the avoidance of an embarrassing situation occurs.
All I’m really trying to get across is that kindness is not about the avoidance of conflict or confrontation. Kindness isn’t about putting up with others rubbish either. It’s about being mature enough to know the difference between being selfish and selfless and then continuing to help or allowing the other to grow on their own. It’s about honesty. It’s about real compassion. It’s about love. It’s about knowing the difference between when you’re being used or when you’re appreciated and then either staying or walking away. It’s about speaking your truth which allows others to speak theirs. It’s about being kind to yourself and others. It’s about asking yourself, “Am I truly doing this for the other person or for myself?” And then being honest about it so the other person knows where they stand in your life.
True kindness is one of the toughest ways of being. People may not trust or understand or believe in your intentions but that’s not why you’re being kind. You’re being kind because you want to be more you, less everyone else. And in this selfish act, you’re allowing others to be kind too.