Kindness counts


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?

And…

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.