Monday, March 4, 2013

Do Not Mistake My Kindness for Weakness

Why do we often perceive kind people as weak or out of touch with reality?  We often think of them as naive and imagine that they must have had a life free of troubles because if they had experienced hardship in their lives then they wouldn't be kind.  I disagree.

Kindness isn't weak at all.  Kindness is strength.  

I once told a friend that I had decided to seek therapy for some depression and that I wasn't happy about doing so because it made me feel weak.  His response was that acknowledging that I needed help and taking steps to get help are signs of strength, not weakness.  I think he's right.  And I think the same is true of kindness.

There are very few in the world today that have not experienced difficult times in their lives in one way or another.  All around us is poverty, abuse, and crime.  We see news of war and economic downturns every time we turn on the television.  And we have all had a heartbreak that left us disillusioned about love or have experienced the grief of losing someone close to us.  Or we've lost our home because of financial issues or we've experienced the chaos of living with someone with addiction problems.  We all have experienced tragedy and hard times in our lives.  None of us are immune.  

It's easy to allow the negativity in the world to take over.  It's easy to shut ourselves down from our emotions so we don't hurt again.  It's easy to refuse to see goodness in the world and to lose hope.  It's easy to allow ourselves to believe that acts of kindness in such a corrupt world are useless.  Allowing this to happen is allowing ourselves to be defeated.  Allowing ourselves to lose hope is allowing ourselves to give up.  It takes strength and effort to refuse to allow this to happen.    

Life is hard.  It will come up behind you and pull everything you thought you knew and thought you had right out from under you in the blink of an eye.  We have to refuse to let it leave us lying on our backs.  

To stand up and start again is victory.  It's strength.  Admitting that we need help to do so sometimes is strength.  Beating down the urge to allow those experiences to kill our joy is success.  Making ourselves be kind in spite of the hardships of life is strength.

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