This has been on my mind a lot lately. How to be kind – how kind other people are to each other, how kind we are to ourselves. What does being kind mean? According to the dictionary, kind (adj.) is: considerate and generous. A lot of the time, it seems as though when we hit bumps in the road, it is easy to become bitter and resentful.
The unkindness that has been inflicted on you, in turn, begins to have an effect on how you see the world. You might find yourself saying bitter things, even if you don’t want to be that way. Our egos take over and the wrongs that are inflicted on us make us feel like victims. You feel as though the feelings you’re experiencing are overwhelming, and sometimes it is hard to know where to start.
In moments like these, I think forgiveness and kindness are the real healers. Replacing bitterness and anger, no matter how righteous, with love and acceptance. Not acceptance of the wrong that has been done to you, but the acceptance of yourself, and recognition that there is love all around you: and rather than being angry, we need to instead find the core within that burns bright and steady, and will get us through moments like this.
In the past, it has taken me a long time to forgive people who have caused hurt. I’ve been through various steps, but they always begin with recognising that the people who matter are the ones that accept you in all your guises – happy, sad, ill, tired, cranky, silly, quiet, loving – who will see your shades of grey and not run away screaming. Kindness begins with the kind of acceptance that we all need, that we all have the capacity to give.
How else do you move through hurt? You move through it by replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones. You do things that are constructive, that move you forward, such as learning something new, or tackling a task you’ve been putting off. You do things that you know help you to heal, such as watching favourite films or listening to your favourite music. You read a book that gives you wise insights. You go out and eat ice-cream or people watch in the park. Or learn to meditate. It’s good to accept that you’re feeling hurt, but to move past that, to see through it, be kind to yourself. Give yourself space to breathe.
Being kind to others – not making snap judgements, listening to people (really listening rather than interrupting or trying to get your own point across all the time), truly being yourself with people, instead of erecting walls around yourself – is important. There isn’t much point explaining why being kind to others is important, but first and foremost it’s because kindness makes the world a better, more understanding and beautiful place. It is a way of inspiring hope and of healing each other in times of illness and uncertainty. Sometimes it’s hard to be kind. Especially when you have been badly hurt. But it is because you’ve been hurt that recognising the value of kindness is so important. What you put out into the world will have an effect on others, and will inspire others to be kind too.
Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness. – George Sand.