Love is, Part Two: Love is Kind
Love is kind.
It looks after others' interests.
It doesn't hold grudges.
It serves instead of demanding to be served.
It keeps no record of wrongs; it isn't easily angered.
1a : of a sympathetic or helpful nature
- was helped by a kind neighbor
- they were very kind to us
b : of a forbearing nature : gentle
- kind treatment of animals
c : arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance
- a kind act
- a kind smile
2: of a kind to give pleasure or relief
- cooled by a kind breeze
3: chiefly dialectal : affectionate, loving
LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
Our world isn't particularly kind.
People lie, cheat, and steal to make a name for themselves, to get to the top, to impress others, and to try to make themselves happy.
Unfortunate things happen to us all-- whether in the form of disappointments, loss, betrayal, or unfulfilled dreams.
Encouraging, isn't it?
Stick with me.
Although our world isn't necessarily full of kindness, we can be.
We can be a light in a world of darkness.
BE THE KINDNESS
You've probably heard the quote from Gandhi that says, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." There's a reason it's so popular! Our world needs people ushering in change, and we can't wait on others to do it for us.
It might be hard to be kind, especially toward people who don't return our kindness, but what's the alternative? To join in with the hate, apathy, and dissension? I don't want any part of that, and I'm thinking you're probably sick of it, too.
So we get to be the light. Notice that I said, "we get to be." Yes, it's a responsibility, but it's also a privilege.
We get to choose how we respond.
We can respond in anger, in frustration, in irritation.
Or we can respond in grace, mercy, compassion, patience, and kindness.
I know I want to be known for the latter. What about you?
PRACTICING EVERYDAY KINDNESS
Thinking of being the change we wish to see is lovely, but it means nothing if we don't live any differently in light of it.
So how do we live more kindly?
We choose to respond to others the way we would like them to respond to us. I know that when I'm having a bad day or when I say something I instantly wish I could take back, I'm always hoping others will be gracious in their response. Just because I may say something insensitive doesn't mean I'm prepared to handle an inconsiderate response.
And just because others say unkind things to us or around us or about us doesn't mean we have to respond in kind. We can excuse ourselves, refrain from debates, refuse to reply with a stinging remark of our own, and give ourselves permission to not have to have the last word.
We can be careful with how we engage with others-- both in person and online. Social media has wonderful perks in allowing us to stay connected to our people, but it offers people a false sense of security and anonymity, causing many to say things they wouldn't say in person.
As soon as one person starts slinging the vitriol, the whole thing goes downhill. But we can refuse to participate. We can hold our tongues. We can abide by our mother's old adages: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
Are you skilled at practicing kindness toward those around you? Do you have any tips or tricks to remaining kind when others aren't? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!