Should I say something? Should I just let it go?
Last week, I had multiple opportunities to clap back. On a group text that had just declined to two of us texting, but everyone was still on the thread. To a neighbor who’d been angry and over-reactive to a mutual neighbor. To myself for screwing up a link I was supposed to send to multiple recipients on another email list I manage. To a once-removed family member making (in my humble opinion) outrageously ill-informed political statements on Facebook.
Choosing kindness is always an option. Kindness toward others or – and this might be the more important one – toward ourselves. Sometimes it means pausing, opening that space between stimulus and response. Sometimes, it takes humility. Other times, a sense of humor or perspective. There are times when kindness means realizing and accepting that it – whatever IT is – it’s not all about me.
Instead, snark and a rapid response seem to prevail these days. Being witty, or cutting, or simply clever may impart a hit of satisfaction, in person or in real time. Furthermore, in our current world, public responses can evoke immediate support or a positive reflection back via likes on social media. Don’t be fooled by others, or by yourself. This feeling is a falsehood.
I say, let reflection and a long, long, deep breath prevail. Pause. Pause longer. What if you don’t take the bait? What if you don’t respond immediately? What’s the risk?
What’s the benefit? Not to others, although that’s a wonderful gift, but to you?
Of course, you can do a kindness for the benefit of another party. But between us, that’s a secondary benefit – real, for sure, but secondary. Kindness is a practice. Practicing it toward others makes you a kind person. But practicing kindness toward yourself makes you not only a kind person, but a compassionate one. Practice.
You always have a choice.
Peace and love to you in the week ahead.