“Choose being kind over being right, and you’ll be right every time.”
I agree with this quote by Richard Carlson, author of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff.” But sometimes I find myself wondering exactly how to be kind. What does it mean to be kind? And even if I know it’s right, is there a “right” way to be kind?
There are lots of other words associated with kindness: if you’re kind, you’re likely friendly, caring, and generous. You may also sympathize with others, and people might describe you as warm-hearted and considerate. Kindness isn’t only about “being” a certain way, though; it’s about action, doing kind acts. That “doing” is where I always struggle. What if someone wants me to do something that I don’t want to do? Is it kindness to do it anyway, if it will help them?
When the Dalai Lama says, “My religion is kindness,” I imagine that he sees kindness as compassion for all living things—including himself. I always figured that kindness (to him) might include forgiving everyone for not always being their perfect selves—even yourself. It seems to me that kindness, and being kind, also applies to yourself. So if I help someone else, it’s kindness if I’m doing it out of compassion and caring for that person. But if I’m doing it because I think I’m supposed to, or out of a sense of guilt, maybe it isn’t really kind? Maybe my dragging feet and that sense of dread are telling me something!Perhaps the choice to be kind is really about choosing something to give or do willingly and happily to make someone else feel good? Maybe kindness should make everyone feel better?What do you think?