Wisdom Wednesday : Pablo

 

How hard is it to be kind?

If you are a kind person, it probably comes easily to you. A common thing that people ask – usually incredulously after being slighted – is, "How hard is it to be kind?" Making a habit of being kind means that it will eventually be second nature to you, but that doesn't mean it starts out that way for everyone. 

I was raised to treat others as I’d want to be treated, which put me in a great position to be kind for life, but in my formative years I was taken advantage of, used as a doormat, betrayed – you name it. Something in me shut off, and I lost my empathy.

For a good part of my 20s I was cold and calculating. I became really good at hurting people with my words and elevating myself. None of this was really my intention. I just didn’t have the capacity for kindness anymore.

And you know what happened? Nothing -- or at least nothing good. I mistreated well-meaning people, and life stagnated. Relationships wilted. Jobs eluded me. Opportunities I probably didn’t even notice passed me by.

This isn’t a post about what changing my outlook did for me. It’s a post about how to re-center yourself and what changing to a more positive outlook does for others.

When I regained my empathy (through the help of others), I stopped being a black hole of goodwill. Instead of a one-way relationship with the good people around me, I could finally give back.

 
That’s the thing about kindness. It’s the seed that grows into lifelong friendships, service, charity and love.
I don’t have to tell you that it’s tough to find compassion and understanding in today’s society. Bullying, trolling, and shaming are still every day realities. That’s why it’s so important to go out of your way for people – now more than ever.
 

That’s the thing about kindness. It’s the seed that grows into lifelong friendships, service, charity and love.

I don’t have to tell you that it’s tough to find compassion and understanding in today’s society. Bullying, trolling, and shaming are still every day realities. That’s why it’s so important to go out of your way for people – now more than ever.

Because it’s so easy to be vicious and cynical, there needs to be a concerted effort from those of us with empathy to outshine the negativity. You may be mistreated along the way as I was, but becoming hardened isn’t the best answer. It’s the easy way out. It can be hard to be kind, but it’s worth it for you and those around you.

 

Here’s how you can help:

  • Be observant: Sometimes all it takes is to let someone know they are noticed.
  • Give as much as you receive or more: Social interaction shouldn’t be based on a value proposition. Approach things from a place of generosity.
  • Be polite and inviting: We’re all in this together, despite different backgrounds, methods and goals. Let’s get there pleasantly together.
  • And finally, take every opportunity to help others find happiness (never at the expense of your own wellness, OK?), and be an agent of kindness. We need you.  

- Pablo
 
people, WisdomLeah Quinn