WHY BE KIND? “A world without kindness is a dead world.” (Excerpt from: I Hate to Say Goodbye) Many times in our lives we are faced with the dilemma how to deal with someone who was not nice to us, who disappointed us, who treated us roughly, who was inconsiderate, insulting, irritating, annoying; you get the gist?
Most likely, our immediate reaction would have been to get even, to “show” them, to teach them a lesson, scold them, criticize and never talk to them again, to continue to hate them, to not be close to them and to withdraw from them.
The questions I am asking you are: what do we get by hurting the one who hurt us?
What do we achieve by being mean to someone who was mean to us?
When we react as above, we end up poisoning ourselves and the situation just gets worse and worse.
Do you remember when you were a kid and you fought with your sibling? Your brother or sister told on you, and the next day you told on him or her, and then he beat you, and then you went to your mom crying, and then your mom scolded him, and then he beat you some more and broke one of your precious toy and then you beat him and then your Dad got involved, oh boy! Drama!
What’s wrong with this picture? Your brother opened a door for you to enter a dark place and you fell for it. You walked in and continued to walk deeper and deeper into a darker place that became very unpleasant.
Treat these negative behavior or attitudes as an act of luring you or tempting you into harm or error. It is a TRAP. Watch out! See it as a trap and don’t fall for it. This trap, if you fall for it, will turn you into someone you’ll end up not liking. And the most important and best friend you should have is YOU.
Here is an Indian story that illustrate it: An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth.”
The boy thought about it and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”
The hardest thing to do is to continue to love somebody in spite of his or her unacceptable behavior. It is very easy to be nice and kind to people who are kind to you. This is a given. But to be kind to those who are bitter, moody, grouchy, ugly, angry, ah! That is another ball game. Here is where we face the real challenge.
When we are faced with the dilemma to be kind or not, of course the answer is to be kind. By being kind you avoid getting yourself into dark places and keep your surroundings and hands clean; you are feeding the Good wolf.
Sometimes kindness is viewed as being weak–especially in times when you are treated unkindly. This is a misconception. The one who can continue to be kind to another is stronger than anybody around. I’m not saying that if somebody slaps you in the face you should turn the other cheek. Oh no! I want to be clear about it; if someone slap you, you SHOULD protect yourself and if that means fighting back, you better do it and fast. Let’s not confuse situations when you are in danger and situation that are just not pleasant.
And don’t get me wrong. Being kind doesn’t mean you have to be a friend with the one who is treating you badly, oh no! That is not what I mean. It is always your choice whether you want to stay friends or be in any connection with someone. You can end this relationship and still be kind and not get vacuumed into those dark places of revenge, retaliation or getting even.
I invite you to experiment it for a while. Try to say a good word to somebody who is acting meanly or who is downcast. Try to touch a depressed person on the shoulder and tell him or her that “Everything is going to be alright.” Even dare yourself to talk to a homeless and ask if he needs help. Look at somebody who is irritable and ask if there’s any way your can be of help and see what happens.
Be kind and open the door for more kindness.
Ruti Yudovich recently released her first novel, I Hate to Say Goodbye, based on her early years in Israel. She is also the author of a two-part, self-teaching educational book entitled the joy of Hebrew. For more information visit at: http://www.ihatetosaygoodbye.com and FB at: http://www.facebook.com/ihtsgb?ref=hl