It’s not always easy to be kind. You can always find rude and nasty people if you look hard enough (sometimes it’s too easy to find them). Kindness is more than doing a good deed now and again, but it does start that way. As I was contemplating the darker side of kindness, if you will, I ran across this poem:
“The Paradoxical Commandments
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.”
Kent M. Keith
It’s not easy to be ourselves when the world seems out to get us and no one else. It’s not easy to show kindness in the face of hatred. Being the bigger person takes effort. But the only way the world will change is one act of kindness at a time. This is one of the lessons one of my heroes, Nelson Mandela, learned while he was imprisoned. He learned that what got him into the situation he was in was certainly not going to be what got him out of it; he had to change. And change he did.
We’ve each got a similar choice to make. No we may not be in a physical prison, but we too have to realize that what got us into the not so good places we can find ourselves in is not what will get us out. Let’s change the world one kindness at a time.