We’ve all heard the saying “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about”. We’ve all heard stories like the one of the most popular boy in high school announcing in his valedictorial speech that he was going to kill himself one day after school and a jock helped him carry his books home and that one act of kindness showed him there was kindness in the world so he didn’t.
We’ve all heard the (false) story about Alexander Fleming saving Winston Churchill from drowning and Churchill’s father paying for Fleming’s education in response (and he then invented penicillin! And it saved Churchill’s life! See! Look what could happen if you’re kind!).
I was thinking about these stories one morning and something about those stories didn’t sit well with me. And as I stood up from the toilet (because all of life’s problems are solved on the toilet) it hit me: All of these stories encourage kindness for a reason.
You should be kind because other people may have something going on you don’t know about. You should be kind because it might come back to bite you if you aren’t. You should be kind because you might get something in return.
No! You should be kind because you should be kind.
Not because you want anything in return. Not because they might need it. Not because it might bring something good your way.
Just because it’s nice to be kind.
In a resilience training course I recently did at work, the trainer talked about the I:You way of interacting with others. Instead of seeing others as an it and treating them as if they’re less than you (I:it) or treating others as more important than you (it:You), you treat everyone as equal.
I like that. Seems like a better way to live.
Do you try to be kind to everyone you meet?