My mind is clear, the constant bombardment of stressors is gone, and I’m spending my day doing exactly what I want. It makes sense, therefore, that the world would take on an entirely new appearance.
What do I see through my vacation rested eyes?
It’s pretty obvious that the world would be a much better place if we would all be a little kinder.
I’m not saying we have to become Mother Theresa. Just turn up the kindness dial one notch and see what happens. If you’re only a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10, try being a 4. You still wouldn’t have to be very kind at that level, but that little bump in your kindness game could make a major difference to someone whose life has them feeling like a total zero.
I am totally guilty of being stingy with kindness. I like to think that I’m a nice guy, but in my heart of hearts, I know I’m a real piece of work.
There are plenty of people out there who would be happy to confirm that fact, so if you need a list of references, just let me know.
I’d like to be better. I plan to be kinder.
This quiet vacation, spent in semi-seclusion at The House on the Hill, has made the obvious even more so.
Sure, I can be charming, witty, and outgoing, but that only comes in spurts. On special days. When the planets are aligned. And I’ve had a good night’s sleep.
I can joke about it because it’s something I’m working on, and it’s not like it’s a big secret.
One of the major reasons I want to be a writer is because I know I work much better on my own.
I think this problem is common. There are billions of people sharing this planet, so if only ten percent of us aren’t “people persons”, that’s like a billion people dealing with that issue.
And that could be affecting the administration of kindness to our neighbors.
I came up with this little equation on my run this morning to help illustrate what I mean…
Person + Another Person = Some Sort of Reaction
Basically, any time we are around another person, it is going to lead to some sort of reaction. Let’s face it, no one gets along with everyone, so the chances are good that this interaction could lead to some sort of negative reaction.
Admit it. Some people just rub you the wrong way. Or sometimes you’re not in a good mood so you might not be inclined to be kind even to your favorite person in the world.
And total strangers? What are the odds that your initial reaction to a stranger is going to be positive? We all judge. We should be wearing white wigs, long black robes, and carrying around a gavel because we judge so much.
It’s so easy to make a snippy comment, especially behind a person’s back. We do it all the time. It’s how we bond with our friends.
Some of us have no problem making that comment directly to the other person’s face.
Either way, there’s no kindness being distributed.
With social media, it makes it so simple to be snarky and send those thoughts out into the world. I’ve been guilty of that. I write blog posts and monologue jokes that poke fun at others and point out the shortcomings of public figures to make you laugh.
I can’t get through my Facebook feed without reading at least one unkind comment.
Any time the President opens his mouth or shoots off a tweet, odds are it’s heavy on snark and low on kindness.
We seem to simply follow the leader. Like sheep being led to the Valley of Snarkness.
Look at me. Several judgmental comments with no kindness. I think I’ve made my point.
Let’s face it…we have no problem using our words to get a laugh, to make ourselves look superior, or to put a person in (what we think) is their place.
Let’s use our words to build up others, to make the world a better place, and to shine a light on those in need.
A little kindness goes a long way. Let’s see just how far we can make it go.
Whenever I go for a run, there is a little old man, probably in his late 70s, who’s always out working on his lawn.
At first, he would just smile and wave to me.
Lately, though, he’s taken to ask me how many miles I plan to run. I always shout out my intended goal and hold up the corresponding amount of fingers.
This morning, however, he changed it up on me again. As I got within earshot, he yelled out, “Three and a half today?” and then flashed a big smile.
I countered with “Four miles if it doesn’t rain.”
He answered, “That’s great!” and sent me on my way with a huge smile.
Also on today’s run, a truck passed me and the driver stuck his hand out the window to give me a thumbs up.
Another stranger showing a little kindness.
It was not lost on me.
In fact, it inspired me to write this blog post.
I know I’m in a great mood right now because I’m on vacation and get to spend my days writing. This is what I want to do with my life, so I am quite content.
I’m also happy because I’m not around other people, being put into stressful situations, and having to react to the world around me.
The sad truth is that until I line up a full time writing gig that allows me to spend every day in creative seclusion at The House on the Hill, I need to handle my interactions better.
And that all starts with being kinder.
I vow that when I return to the real world, my first reaction around others won’t be a negative one. I’m going to do my part to make the world better by killing it with kindness. Well, maybe killing it is too high of an expectation.
How about love tapping it with kindness? That seems much more realistic.
And imagine what would happen if we all tried this? Come on. Give it a shot!
What a wonderful world it would be…
So what do you say, Modern Philosophers? Will be join me in trying to be kinder? Do you think this is a realistic goal? Does anyone want a free hug?