I have always been kind.
Sure, I have had my moments of weakness where my anger overcame my normal behavior, but as a whole, I have always revered kindness, almost without realizing. Even on my worst days, I have a smile and a kind word for those I meet, even if we are not acquaintances or friends.
I have, as anyone else who has reach adulthood, become somewhat jaded, perhaps a little cynical, but I have always battled those outlooks with my never-ending faith in kindness. I have always been like a hobbit in that respect (bear with me) in the way that I am quick to forgive, to smile, and to avoid confrontation unless it is absolutely necessary. People have told me that these traits make me weak, vulnerable, and perhaps they are right, but I have always looked at the world from through my personal rose-colored glasses, and I have always been astounded by the beauty that people try and hide within themselves.
When did being kind become a faux pas? When did being the first person to announce, “I love you,” make you the weaker link in the relationship? Shakespeare once said, “virtue is brave, and kindness is never afraid. I have never regretted my good deeds.” To be good is to be kind and honorable. So why would I try and be anything less than kind?
I adore being kind, even when it is difficult, because those who dislike me usually struggle to find a genuine reason to dislike me (and, to be frank, it amuses me to see them try). True, I may be annoying or have wronged them in some egregious way, but no one can claim I was ever less than kind or gracious to them in our interactions. Now, I am not perfect, and I willingly admit to having moments of lashing out, but I have always apologized genuinely for my wrongful actions. Kindness has led me to offering people rides, money from my paycheck, and a shoulder to cry on, all of which I gave almost always without complaint.
What do I get from it? Nothing tangible. But kindness has a way of spreading; it is like a wonderful disease that I desperately wish would become an epidemic. If you do something nice for one person, they will do for another. Relationships should not be about who owes who, it should be about who can help the other.
People seek out religion, education, and lovers to help them discover the knowledge of why we are human and what makes our lives worth living. Some would say love, others God, and others say it is enough to live for themselves. I would respect all of these views, as each person’s ideals have their own merit, but I never wish to live in a world where kindness, basic human kindness, is seen as a weakness.
But I fear I already do live in that world.
In this new age of technology, people have become even more self-absorbed. It is easy to become wrapped up in our six-inch phone screens and ignore the issues in our world. When did “liking” something on Facebook count as helping a cause? Why does re-tweeting a picture of an issue make it better? True, you are spreading the message, and that is invaluable in it own right, but actual human contact and concern is becoming a dying art; meeting someone’s eyes and engaging in conversation, going out and doing service, putting down our phones and listening to the old man who is desperately trying to spread the message of his life. Being present in the world we live in: smiling, engaging, and caring. That is kindness.
So, I will continue to be kind. Even when my friends try and coax me into their beliefs in “standing-up for myself” by being brazen, I will be kind. I am not a doormat, but if I wish to let go of my anger, even if it is well founded, then that is my business. I do not hold grudges, and I can happily say there is not one person whom I hate. Childish naiveté? Perhaps, but then why do I feel so fulfilled and content, even on my worst days? Kindness has allowed me to be successful in almost all of my endeavors; people respect me, and while when I was a girl I was occasionally taken advantage of in relationships due to my gentle and non-confrontational nature, now I am far more careful about whom I call friends.
But, no matter how many years pass, I will continue to smile at strangers. Apologize for bumping into people. Assume the best in those whom I do not know. I will do all of it, because there is nothing more affirming than receiving a smile in return. Than knowing, somewhere out in the world, there are people who believe in kindness too.
So I will smile at those who mock me, who hate me, who wish me ill, and I will demean their disapproval with my laugh, my wit, and my genuine compassion in the face of their petty grievances.
I suppose, to be cliché, that I will kill them with kindness.