Last week I posted this painting - it only took me a few minutes to create. One of our little friends loves to paint when she comes over to our house and I can't bear to let the paint go to waste.
But people really responded to this simple little painting and the message. One friend commented, "Love it! I wish all people could follow these directions, I don't understand why it's so difficult."
I've been thinking about her comment ever since. Because I know that it is difficult to be kind sometimes. Why is it so difficult? Because we are all human. We all mess up sometimes. We all have needs that aren't always being met 100% of the time. We all have unique triggers - things that cause us to feel strong emotions. Sometimes we're exhausted or hungry, sometimes we see something that makes us really ANGRY. In these situations we may feel like we don't have the energy to be kind. Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is bite our tongue and take a few deep breaths until our boiling blood cools down.
It's easy to get behind the message, "Just be kind" when we witness terrible events in the world - unfathomable acts committed that harm innocent people. What's difficult is being consistent in our day to day lives with people in our immediate environment. Sometimes the most difficult thing is to Be Kind to a family member that always seems to do things that go against our values. Perhaps our neighbor does something annoying that we can't understand. How kind are we to strangers we see at the grocery store or what thoughts do we have about other drivers on the highway?
And of course - how do we show (or NOT show) kindness to our children every day?
Be Kind may be a simple message but it is NOT an easy one. If it was we would have figured this stuff out already. So we keep trying. We keep challenging OURSELVES every day to be kinder. (And admit and forgive ourselves when we are not. The more I focus on this message the more I notice when I'm falling short. It's ok to admit we aren't perfect. Instead of beating ourselves up it's more important to make things right and learn from our mistakes.)
So yes. Just. Be. Kind. Even - no ESPECIALLY - when we see others being Unkind. It is the only answer that makes sense.
Although some people may think it is so, Kindness is NOT weak.
Kindness is strong. We can build kindness up - within us and out in the world - one small brick of kindness at a time. But just like a brick wall can be worn down byrain and wind, Kindness can be worn down by the elements of judgment and selfishness.
Kindness is tender too. Like a seedling that needs sun and rain it will flourish if we protect it. Like a vine it will grow wildly and cover everything it touches. We can nourish our vines of kindness with mindfulness and compassion.
Be Kind. Even - no ESPECIALLY - when it's difficult.
Just. Be. Kind. ♥ ♥ ♥
4/24/2013 03:20:26 am
Thank you I think for me kindness comes easy (to strangers anyways, not always to my kids, lol) because I'm outgoing, and I love people, but for some people I think as much as they would like to be kind to others, they are introverts and tend to shy away from other people, whether it be talking to them, smiling at them, helping them, etc, especially if it's a stranger. So although they are nice people inside, it appears to others as though they don't care. Being kind by definition is definitely a hard task though, it takes a lot to be friendly, generous, warm-hearted, charitable, humane, tolerant, agreeable and probably the most difficult for me even though I'm generally a "kind" person, is showing sympathy. Although I often feel bad for people in certain situations, I don't know what to say or how to express it to them. One of the hardest things to remember too is that just because you are kind to people doesn't mean they are going to accept it, and certainly doesn't mean they are going to return the favor. But you shouldn't give up because really, you don't necessarily do it for them, you do it for you, because it makes you feel good, and there are many other people out there who will appreciate it.
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Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.