It takes more work to be good. I keep thinking about this after a busy week. After seeing closed minded posts on social media, a parent being rude to me, teaching a crazy off the wall class at school…it had me feeling down.
We all have those thoughts that creep in. When we’re tired or upset or overworked it’s a lot harder to see through a clear lens. When people start clouding your focus with bad manners, hate and judgment it’s hard to filter that out to set the better example.
I listened to a podcast this week that talked about ‘being kinder than necessary.’ We’ve seen the Pinterest quotes and maybe even said the words ‘kill with kindness.’ How often do we actually employ this idea, all while letting go of anger or resentment towards the one that did you wrong? Being kind to someone’s face and then turning around to complain about it to someone else is not the same thing. Talking through a problem or asking advice is beneficial, but complaining is not. But seriously isn’t that the hardest?
I started thinking about this idea of being kinder than necessary. Showing love to the parent that was sarcastic and rude was difficult. Helping out a co-worker even when they should have accomplished that task already was not what I wanted to do. The thing about kindness is that it’s only kind if you do it out of compassion, concern and care for that situation. Have I done the kind thing so people think I’m a kind person? Oh, for sure. How often do we do the begrudgingly kind thing because we feel like we ‘should’ and not just because it is needed?
I struggle to see and hear closed mindedness. Sharing your thoughts is one thing, but doing it in a hateful or discriminatory way is never okay. We all have different ideas of what is right and wrong and the most important thing to remember is that each of us feel differently about different things. Assuming you’re the only right person and closing yourself off to conversation is not loving, it is judgmental. It’s also not kind.
It’s easier to be hateful and negative. It’s much harder to be loving. It’s harder to be willing to sit and listen to someone with a different mindset, without jumping in to correct them. It’s harder to accept differences than to categorize someone as bad or wrong. Listening can lead to some of the most fruitful conversations for both you, or for them.
In premarital counseling Marshall and I talked about how validating someone’s thoughts or feelings doesn’t mean you are agreeing they are right. You can validate why your husband thinks one thing, by listening and understanding them, without saying you agree. Validating a person’s feelings is important. If they ask for your opinion on the matter you can give a differing one, all while respecting how they might have come to their conclusion.
Allowing room for kindness, the kind you mean without a hidden motive, respect by listening, and love by caring are 3 essential parts of being a good human. Let’s all practice that today.
I bet you’re picturing that one difficult person in your life right now. How can you show kindness today? How will you balance kindness, validation and love without compromising yourself?
Let’s work on this together.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
(A reminder for me this week to speak kindly and teaching lovingly!)