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This post talks about mental health and may be triggering for some readers.
Please seek help if you need it.
Hi there, how are you doing? Have you checked in with yourself lately, taken stock of what you’re feeling physically and emotionally? You can bury a whole lot in the back of your mind. I hope you take some time today to do something that brings you joy ❤
Have you ever heard that saying “Kindness Is Free“?
It’s a nice idea. Kindness costs you nothing, so give it out every chance you get.
And I suppose in the capitalist culture we live in, that’s pretty accurate.
It costs no money.
You don’t trade anything of substance for it.
You don’t run it on credit or send someone an IOU.
But for anyone who has had a bad day, had someone treat them like crap, had a stressful day at work, then chosen to take the high road and speak kindness anyway:
You know it costs something.
It may not cost money… it may be “free” in our society’s terms, but it can be really expensive in immaterial terms.
Let’s be honest, if kindness was free, it wouldn’t be so rare.
I’m not talking about the random, easy kindnesses.
I’m talking about choosing to say something that will protect someone’s heart, when all you want to do is get back at them for their rude comment.
I’m talking about going out of your way to make a new person feel welcome, even though it’s scary and you might be labeled an outsider along with them.
I’m talking about choosing to say kind words to your family, your friend, your partner, when they are making you so angry all you want to do is yell at them.
These acts of kindness are hard.
They take work.
You have to swallow your pride and force down the words that are ready to leap off your tongue.
You have to choose something that, frankly, you don’t want to choose.
I think this is what defines us.
What we choose to do when we’re under pressure.
It’s not being kind when it’s easy, when it’s free, that shows your character. But being kind when it’s hard.
When it costs you something.
Think about a time when you didn’t feel like being kind. Maybe it was an augment with a loved one. Maybe it was a rude coworker. Maybe you were having a bad mental health day and you weren’t sure you had it in you.
Now think about what you said. Were you kind? Or did you act on your impulse?
Did you shout at your loved one and storm away, or did you take their hand and tell them how much they mean to you and that you want to fix this?
Did you write a passive aggressive letter to your coworker outlining their bad behavior, or did you rise above and set a mutually respectful boundary?
Did you inflict the pain you were feeling on others, or did you seek to protect the hearts of others from your pain, and reach out to someone for help?
No judgement here.
Honestly, today my coworker was being rude to me and I snapped at them.
I did not choose kindness. I could have, but I didn’t.
There are a million excuses. It’s really hot out. I’m tired. This person has been rude to me a lot lately. I wasn’t really that rude…
But I’m not defined by situations or the behavior of others.
I’m defined by my choices.
In that moment, I wasn’t kind.
But I will choose kindness next time.
We’re human, we make mistakes. What’s important is that we keep trying.
Choosing kindness is so important, especially in light of the turmoil in our world right now.
People are hurting, but you can’t always tell just by looking at them.
If I am rude to someone, I have no way of knowing that person has been struggling with mental health and I just triggered them.
If I insult someone, I have no way of knowing they have struggled with self image for years and I just set them back.
If I ignore or dismiss someone, I have no way of knowing they have been struggling with feelings of loneliness and lack of self-worth.
I have no idea what is going on in someone else’s life.
I have no way of knowing how my unkindness might affect someone.
So it’s that much more important to choose kindness.
Every chance you get.
Even when it costs you something. Pride. Effort. Attention. Ease.
Sometimes I ask myself, who do I want to be?
Do I want to be the woman who hurts people, or lifts them up?
Do I want my words to make or break someone’s day?
Do I want people to feel the pain that I struggle with day in and day out, or do I want to bring light and life to the people around me?
It’s all a choice.
Every day, every hour, every moment, I can choose who I want to be, how I want to act.
Kindness may not be free, but it’s always worth it.