“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.“
Have you ever happened upon a conversation with a stranger that you thought was going to be regular and mundane, but proved to be meaningful? Maybe while waiting in line, in a taxi or at a bus stop? At first, you are taciturn, but the stranger keeps talking, and before you know it, the two of you are sharing life stories. At the end of the conversation, one or both parties are better off for having it. It gives you some relief, gets you thinking or makes you appreciate your life a little more. We have these types of conversations not because we want to, but because we have to. As humans, we need to have a listening ear or an outlet to express our life experiences. The fortunate ones among us have a family, friends or coworkers to act as these outlets; others turn to the internet or random strangers.
I have seen people crying on the bus and the train. Adults, overwhelmed by the pressures of life. I saw the driver in the car next to me in deep worrying thought as he headed home, maybe from work. We see people every day, but we don’t know their experiences. We don’t know the burdens they are carrying and the battles they are fighting. Often we are quick to judge when we meet someone who is a little different or don’t act in a way we consider normal. We have a habit of dismissing people as being “off” or “crazy” when they don’t fit into our stereotypes or social norms. We reserve our kindness for successful people or those (often based on superficial criteria) who we think deserve it. Why is it so hard to be kind? Is it a defense mechanism? Is it that the pressures of everyday life are making us hard? I think it’s a combination of the pressures of daily living and a defense mechanism. I believe that if you don’t innately have a kind disposition, this world will make you a little hard.
It takes nothing to be kind. You don’t have to be wealthy. You don’t even have to be well off; you just have to be human. The other day I overheard my coworker telling someone he was considering to become a motivational speaker. Without giving it much thought, I turned to him and said: “Go for it.” He gave me an affirmative nod, and I went back to what I was doing. Later that day, he happened to be passing my workstation, he stopped and said: “Thank You.” I asked him what was he thanking me for, and he said: “Earlier today, you didn’t have to be supportive.” That’s when it hit me; he was right. I didn’t have to be supportive, but what would I have gained by putting down his dream? Nothing! Maybe an enemy, that’s it.
Being kind is played out. Have you ever read the comments on some of these websites? If you have then, you must agree that is the thinking of most of the commenters. Total strangers being unkind to each other from
the comfort of their homes. Trolls and attention seekers run amok on social media sites, all trying to escape the reality of their lives. Trying to make themselves feel better at the expense of others. You have to ‘kill them with kindness.’ The alternative is just killing ignoring them. Be kind, because ‘in the end, only kindness matters.’