I had a talk with my students today. We are working on finding ways to make acts of kindness. I thought I would share some of that here today, with a little extra because most of my readers are grown adults.
If you stop and think about it, there is probably at least one person in your day-to-day life who has the power to sour your mood on sight. They have somehow reached a point of being an absolute source of negativity in your life. You may be young enough that there is only one such person that you know, but those like me, who have a few decades of life experience, usually have several such people.
On the flip-side of that coin, I can safely assume that you also have one or more people in your life who can brighten your mood and lift your spirits with nothing more than their presence.
How do you want people to see you?
In our time everything is political and a cause for hate. Now, I’m old, and as such, I do not have the energy to hate people for differences of opinion (or much else, for that matter). Hate requires energy, and time, and commitment. I don’t have the time or the energy to commit to something so…unrewarding. Political opinions are just another opinion, and they mean nothing against the vast complexities the make people interesting. No matter your political opinion or affiliation, half of the people out there will disagree with your stance. Is that really special? Do you want a cookie?
Being kind to people sometimes takes energy, but it feels better. I have had friends turn tomato red as they screamed at me over trivialities. I did not lose my cool and return the poor behavior; I let it slide because it was still a triviality, regardless of how it was packaged. And this is aside from the fact that you never know what the person who is showing anger and hatred is going through.
And to answer the questions that many will ask, how does this have anything to do with personal safety?
Well, I know of no factual account of a person being punched in the nose for being too nice. I have seen people get punched in the face for being a loud-mouth, a know-it-all, a pontificating jerk, and general assorted asshattery. But never for being kind.
This is not to say that being kind to people will prevent backstabbers, opportunists, insecurity-turned-hate, and other such boorish behavior-types from attacking you. But, it will increase your standing and your own reputation, and these types of people generally will not resort to physical attacks. There will always be people who treat you much worse than you deserve, but they are the few. They are loud but still small in number.
Short form of the above; when you can be kind, choose that option. It is better all-around than the alternatives.