‘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.
I’m always amazed by the capacity of human beings for kindness. You know – the kind where we give love without expectation of anything in return, or we give love just because. Last year was a tough one, not least because I forgot what kindness means, and had to remember to be kind to myself. To remember that nobody can be everything to everyone – that we are just us and constantly moving and growing. I wrote a post in July last year, Inspiration: Being Kind, and it was something that I struggled to arrive at, knowing how hard won that kindness was. It’s only when we go through the bleakest and darkest of times that we understand what kindness means – a bright, glowing light that guides us back to ourselves and to others.
This blog post is being written for a number of reasons. One, because I want to remind myself of what it all means. That if we aren’t kind to each other and to ourselves, we risk losing touch with what it means to be human. That perhaps despite everything else, love and compassion are the two things that matter the most. They are the building blocks of empathy and creativity. Even when I’m afraid or angry, I know I can come back to a place where it’s possible to love and empathise.
Another reason is because one of the loveliest and most inspiring of bloggers I know, Rarasaur, is in trouble at the moment. I started reading her blog a couple of years ago, but it’s only in the past year that I have found myself reading her writing deeply, going back into the archives of her blog, and really beginning to understand the meaning of kindness. She is kindness. She gives so much love to people in her comments, in her interactions, through her writing. People like Rara are beacons of light – they shine brightly and show us how we can be more courageous and give more love to the world.
What does love mean to me? There are lots of different ways to love. To be passionate about a cause, to give your time voluntarily. To love friends and family and your significant other – three different kinds of love there. To be someone who listens to others, without agenda. To see everyday as a chance to put some light into the world. To write, create, learn and live – especially live – everyday because this moment is the only moment we have. We are living right now. Love means, to me, to live every moment, even if it’s hard and dark, or boring and restless. It is all life.
Sometimes you have to remember that no matter how tempting it is to be disillusioned with the system – I know how easy it is to slip into cynicism and to say ‘but that’s just the way it is, it will never change’ – hope is still there. You might fail, but failure is there for teaching us how to do it differently. Failure is less scary to me every day, because I’ve failed a lot in the past I know all I have to do is pick myself up, learn from those hard lessons, and start again. I’m afraid all the time, but I’m learning to push through that. We all learn in our different ways to push through that.
So this is for all of you who are feeling lost, angry, alone and disillusioned – it gets better. And there is always love and hope, the two things that can often sustain us in the hardest of times. There is the kindness of strangers and friends, which I can see everywhere in the blogosphere.
‘What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?’ – Jean Jacques Rousseau.