“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~ Philo
The first time that I saw this quote a few years ago it stuck with me. I felt like it was something that I should have learned a long time ago when I was going through some of the hardest parts of my life.
That seems to be how life works sometimes though. We learn the lessons after we live through the experiences.
I wish it was somehow made to be the other way around, but then I guess we wouldn’t take the lessons seriously. Maybe that’s why it’s just “good advice” before we go through the learning experience. Afterward, we’ve learned our lesson and we have no choice but to apply the truths that were so carefully and painfully ingrained into our hearts, our souls, and our minds.
Sometimes being kind is a challenge. People make it very easy for us to want to hurt, and hate, and retaliate, but in the end that never works out well. I believe that no matter how hard someone else is trying to hurt you, that you can be kind. Here’s why:
1. Being kind will keep your heart intact
There is nothing that will harden your heart faster than when you lash out and are cruel towards other people. There is nothing that will wound your own heart faster than angry words spoken to hurt another. What I’ve found is that in our own hurt state, we hurl insults, and scream and yell, but we actually just end up having another burden of regret to carry around.
When you are hurt, or frustrated, or angry, take a deep breath. If you can say something kind, then that is the best thing you can do. If you can’t say anything, being silent is kinder than saying something hurtful. Mom was right, if you don’t have anything nice to say, saying nothing is a good idea!
Best of all, when you choose kindness, your own heart will be protected, nurtured, and strengthened. We only get one shot at this life, so when we can do things that we are proud of, we can lay down at night and have less regrets when we choose kindness.
2. Being kind gives you the upper hand
I believe that in many situations where we are expected to act out, react when others have treated us poorly, and be angry, we have the opportunity to gain the upper hand. Rather than sink to their level and engage in poor behavior, you can choose instead to be kind and respectful.
If you choose to be kind and respectful when you’ve been treated badly, you will immediately change the tone of the relationship. Usually when another person has been conditioned to believe that it’s ok to treat others poorly, they will have no idea how to react to your undeserved kindness that you are showing them. Even better, you’ll be able to walk away from them and know that you are not controlled by what others do, but you are a person who chooses their own destiny, someone who chooses to live life in a positive and uplifting way.
3. Being kind will always come back to you
No matter what you credit, karma, God, a higher power, or physics, when you choose to be kind, those kind actions will come back to you at the right time. I wish that I could tell you that they always came right back, in a way that you could measure and control, but it’s not really that simple.
Life has a way of paying us back, good and bad, when we least expect it. That’s why for me, I have decided that I will always do my best to be kind to others, and I’ll trust that when the time is right, I will receive the kindness that I need.
Life will pay you back, and that’s why paying it forward makes sense. Today when you are given the opportunity to be kind to someone undeserving, go ahead and do it. When you are given the chance to be kind to a complete stranger, go for it. When you feel sorry for yourself and you’re struggling with your own issues, find someone to be kind to. You won’t regret it.
Have you received undeserved acts of kindness?
Have you ever had a time where someone did something that they didn’t have to do, when they were especially kind and sweet to you? Did you ever receive undeserved grace at the moment that you needed it most?
Share your stories of kindness in the comments below.