On Kindness

I wrote this entry in some other place….. but I think it’s a good idea to keep my lonesome, bitter little entry company. So here it is:

This is the time wherein I place about 90% my sarcasm and jadedness and simply do a public service announcement.

Call me a prissy-pants Virgo. Call me a person with a social conscience. Call me smug and self-righteous. Just don’t call me with a sob story that could have easily been prevented by having followed the advice I’m about to give. On the other hand, if you’re sad and think I can provide relief, do call. :o)

Behold, my PSA:

No one should have to suffer any kind of abuse. This is a phrase we take for granted and to which we all can nod in solemn agreement when it relates to war crimes, third world countries, and all sorts of unfortunate people whose acquaintance we have not met.

But what about abuse that happens to someone we know by someone we know? By our own hand, even…

I’m willing to bet we’ve all turned a blind eye or even encouraged bullying, public rudeness, peer pressure, ridicule, humiliation and domestic abuse in some form without even realizing it. It’s funny how even the most free-thinking and iconoclastic of us will routinely engage in some form of harassment or “ruffling of feathers” without giving it a second thought. It’s cruel to think that we don’t place any stock on trying to be courteous to everyday strangers or to family and loved ones…. but *especially* to family and loved ones; instead, we make ourselves feel better by placing a small donation to what we believe to be truly unfortunate people, far away where we cannot see them.

We giggle inwardly when we flip a car off in the highway in a way that we hope won’t be seen (don’t want the owner of that car to tail you for the next ten miles, perhaps?), but we don’t care if we all gang up on the cousin with a speech impediment. We think it’s funny when we mock a friend’s idea by calling them names to insult their intelligence. We don’t even think about it when we just grab, push and shove –and forget even the old standbys “please” and “thank you”….. those are officially dead.

We forget to pass on phone messages. Once it’s just forgetfulness, perhaps. Frequently, it starts to smack of rudeness.

We forget to tell people we appreciate what they do for us.

We forget to introduce people to new friends and acquaintances and make those moments even more awkward.

We mention obscure inside jokes that make people feel like we’re making fun of them… not once, but in a routine basis.

We leave people out of the joke, really.

We take people around us for granted.

We abuse our family’s and friends’ ability to listen to our own selfish rants, without even taking a breather to truly and sincerely ask those who patiently listen how they are doing. I don’t mean like a polite, “..and how are you?” thing. I mean, like an actual encouragement to talk.

And on occasion, we get so enraged that we hit, smack, violate or rob those whom we should be most grateful for. Not all of us have done it, but some have. And why is that?

Because we take everyone close to us for granted– at one point in time or another, we all will do so. And soon enough, if we don’t become aware of it, we start to refuse seeing inward and realizing what it is we’re doing. We do not want to see the reflection in the mirror: the one that shows a greedy, selfish person. A person who may be razzing a friend for getting a bad haircut one day and feeding birds rice “to see what happens” or a person who leaves car parts on the side of the road. A person who takes the last cold drink without offering or neglects to tell you that the doctor’s office called to confirm your appointment. A person who throws away a perfectly good gift because he or she didn’t like it enough –or like *you* enough– to adjust his or her own preferences to humor someone he or she cares for. (Sarcastic interlude: Unless the gift happens to be the most hideous neon pink crocheted bonnet…….. in which case you should still be gracious and accept the present).

All of these little things may not sound deeply uncaring, but they are. And they add up. And sometimes, the person who ridicules you in front of her friends or flirts shamelessly with people he or she doesn’t even know, might turn out to be the person who beats you up so badly you have to go to the E.R.

None of us can ever know what lurks in the heart of another. But we can remind ourselves to be a little kinder to those around us and realize that, while we may live here in a place that is not war-torn or segregated or under constant threat of death, we are all still trying to live and that is hard enough in itself. So kindness to those who are nearest and dearest is not just an assurance that we will have an easier time in life; it is expected from us if we want to be people who can look at themselves in the mirror every morning and smile.

Expect kindness and give kindness. Those who are unkind will only have unkindness coming back in spades.

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This entry was published on March 21, 2005 at 12:43 pm and is filed under Soapboxing. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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