“Kindness is not an act. It is a lifestyle ”
Kindness can be an individual act but it can also evolve into a way of life if we work on it and practice. Recently, an incident inspired me to ponder this concept more and to write this.
Someone on Facebook who I do not know and is not on my friend’s list and never was but is somehow still able to post on my content (which I don’t mind, I welcome everyone into my world, lol) has been writing uncalled for comments/messages to me somewhat recently. She has done this months ago, disappeared, and then came back. It’s nothing completely vicious, no personal insults, but definitely sarcastic and utterly pointless. She posts these unpleasant comments on/sends these messages about multiple things I post/share, I share lots of inspirational posts which I know do not resonate with everyone but can apply to people in general, stuff like “kindness is best not just when it’s convenient but as a way of life” and quotes by Buddha and other enlightened/wise people, just various positive things by various people, and she posts things like “yeah because that’ll really work!” implying that it won’t and “yeaaah, I think I’ll just leave this advice at the curb…” “uhh good luck with that one!” “hmm, can’t wait to see where this one gets you!” “ugh! You mean people really feel this way?!” “no. I think i’ll just put ME first!” “let’s see where all that kindness gets you in life…”
I’m just paraphrasing but this is basically what she writes to me. And as you can see, it really has no substance and no purpose or so it seems to me.
And she writes hostile insults about Buddhist people and Buddha and disagrees with the concept of universal love, which is definitely ok.
There’s nothing at all wrong with debating against a religion or philosophy or disagreeing but there’s no need for nonsensical, intentional insults or pointless bitter sarcasm. Some people are a fan of that but I’m sure as hell not!
She doesn’t just comment about Buddhist posts but on various ones. She advocates for always putting ourselves before everyone else. And while I disagree, it’s ok that she feels that way and disagrees with me. And ok that she states her opinions. Her opinions are no less worthy of being heard than my own.
She has no less of a privilege/right to state her opinions than I do. And I’m not preachy or wanting to annoyingly lecture people.
And I won’t always be right. I welcome different views. Even the ones I find less than appealing.
But there’s no need to have a flippant mouth/tone. If we insist on posting on like every thing someone shares or writes just to disagree and sending messages to people just to criticize, we can at least have a more pleasant tone and cut out the sarcasm, which I don’t care for.
Also, I really don’t see the point posting on stuff like this and sending e-mails/messages just to disagree unless we have something valuable to contribute. In my opinion, sarcasm, just to get at someone, is not valuable. By valuable, I mean having an effective or positive outcome or intention, helping someone see different points of views, challenging people to grow…not just being a smartass for the hell of it. I really don’t see the point. It doesn’t mean there isn’t one, I just don’t see it.
I know we may have different ideas of the word “positive” and the word “valuable” and on different occasions, in different contexts, the concept of each word can shift or change. I am aware of that. But this is my concept of the words in this case.
Because her comments/messages are usually just one sentence sarcastic remarks, I usually ignore it because really what else can someone write back that would be constructive? It’s not like she’s debating with me and also being sarcastic and I can just ignore the sarcasm and debate with her in a civil way. It’s all it is is shallow sarcastic remarks. So there’s really not much to say. Maybe she’s stressed out or something and for whatever reason uses my Facebook account to blow off steam. Maybe my sappy love posts and public settings are inviting and she sees it as a safe place to relieve stress or anger by spewing sarcastic remarks?
I’m understanding of that. And if it really is helping her in some deeper way than just trying to tick me off, I welcome it with open arms. It’s ok if she reduces her stress or anger at the expense of my account. That’s why I post things and write, to help people! If anyone at all wants to use my inbox, comments section here, or on fb, or e-mail to vent and relieve stress or anger, or whatever and go off, please go ahead! I’m here to listen/read or just let you vent without judgment! But I really don’t know what her deal is.
“Kindness is the sunshine in which virtue grows.” ~
Robert Green Ingersoll
I definitely wanted to write something rude back to her but that goes against everything I stand for. It was tempting after a while but I resisted. Also, how hypocritical would it be of me to post something unkind to someone on a post about being kind to everyone even when they do not deserve it! Lmao, the irony! But it sure was tempting! It would have actually been super hilarious because of how ironic it would be. I was almost tempted to, just to be funny. Lol (like one day ages ago, when I wrote a blog post bragging about how I learned to put many pictures in one post and no pictures showed up after I hit the publish button! I was about to change it and put the pictures back on but I decided to keep it with no pics just because it was really funny and ironic how I said about all the pics on it, then NONE appeared! )
My main problem wasn’t just that she posted a rude comment but that she posted multiple ones and not once posted anything constructive or positive and the same for a few months ago when she appeared. It was like she just wanted to be an annoyance.
I thought about writing something sarcastic but in a very subtle way. Something not obviously aggressive but gets my displeasure across to her in an implicit unkind way. But then I realized that’s also vicious and not loving.
I began to have compassionate thoughts about her, at first forced. “Fake it ’til you make it!” it’s not really being “fake” but a genuine attempt to evolve into deeper compassion. It doesn’t mean being kind to someone’s face then bashing that person in a gossipy way later to someone else or on an fb status or blog post.
I was a bit annoyed at her one night before falling asleep, but forced myself to have loving thoughts for her. It can be so hard! Not as hard for me as for some because along with being naturally inclined to being loving and overly easy going even when people are being difficult, I am a mindful, intentional universal love practitioner and Lovingkindness meditator. But it can still be difficult sometimes. But I forced it while also admitting in my own head that I am displeased.
This is not repression or being “fake” but practicing Lovingkindness to become genuinely more loving and kind to everyone, all living, sentient beings, everywhere.
Then I woke up and felt nothing but warm compassion and love for her. I realize she’s prone to suffering and death, loss and pain and tragedy just like me. Just like everyone. At any moment she can be struck with an illness, a bullet, a cluster headache, a heart attack…just like I can and then will any of the nonsense matter anymore? Why not love her instead?
She was once an innocent baby and will at one point be a very old person who is even more susceptible to unpleasant circumstances like disease, death, pain… And just like me, she has hopes, happiness, concerns, goals, dreams, interests, joy, love….a life and a breath. A story. A song. A name.
This deepened my compassion even more. Her suffering and pain is no less than mine and her happiness and wellbeing are no less important than mine. I realized I do not want to inflict any kind of anger, unhappiness, pain, annoyance..or whatever, upon her with rude comments back even if she wants to inflict any of that upon me. And if she’s a troll who was merely pursuing negative attention in return for hers then it would just be perpetuating it. That ultimately does no good in my opinion. And if she’s suffering or stressed and is taking it out on my account then she needs love, not rudeness back.
“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” ~
I was able to take advantage of this amazing experience to strengthen my habit/way of life/philosophy to always be kind even in the face of the unkindness and bitterness of others. It was the perfect opportunity to “practice what I preach.”
She challenged me and the way of life that I advocate for and try to live, not just with her opposing views but the way she chose to go about stating her views, by actually acting in an unpleasant way, actually BEING an example, tempting me to give in and give up on my philosophy of life.
It’s usually harder to be kind and loving when someone is actually being rude and bitter than when the person is just opposing my views with views I find to be distasteful. And it’s so much harder to be kind and loving when a person in reality is being rude and bitter than just an imaginary scenario in my head. I can think in my head and write/say that if people act rudely I will still be kind but when I am faced with the situation for real, not just in my head, in theory, in writing, or in imagination, it is usually much harder. She’s not the first person I have encountered who acts rudely in person or online. And she won’t be the last. So each unpleasant seeming encounter I experience can be my teacher and my chance to practice universal Lovingkindness.
This opportunity is so convenient and so “perfect,” it briefly occurred to me that she may have actually intentionally been trying to teach me, challenge me, help me strengthen, test my life philosophy by acting this way. It’s a kind of irony that she may have noticed if she’s exceptionally wise. I don’t think it’s the case though, it just crossed my mind. I know that many years ago, I used to argue against some people’s views, like political, religious, or philosophical, who I completely agreed with just to try to strengthen both of our arguments. They did not know I actually agreed with them and was just acting. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, it’s kind of shady and seems a bit trollish, maybe? But it did help my debating skills and maybe theirs.
But she probably wasn’t doing this.
I am very thankful for the experience and deeper wisdom I have come to experience as a result of this encounter with this person. She is my teacher. And I really do have compassion and love for her. Not in a way to provoke her to be unhappy, to “kill with kindness” in a passive aggressive way just because I know she doesn’t want my kindness and love. She seems to be an advocate for aggression and hostility so she may not appreciate my love. But because that’s what I am and want to continue to be and be even better and better at. I won’t intentionally use my love to annoy her by expressing it to her. I’m ignoring her but in my head I wish the best for her and if she ever comments something that seems worth responding to, even if I disagree or it’s negative or rude, I will be pleasant in my response, not aggressive in an explicit or subtle way. I’m not going to sarcastically, excessively, “kill with kindness” but actually BE kind. She may or may not like it but I can’t help what she likes or not. It’s not my place to control her and I don’t want to anyway. I will not intentionally try to annoy her. It’s all I can do.
I don’t judge people negatively, who disagree with my Way and think it’s better to lash out at those who are rude or post/say uncalled for things. It’s true I advocate for and try to live with kindness as a way of life but I still am compassionate and usually understanding for those who hold other views and live differently. Not always, I make mistakes too and do/say things that are better not said or done.
Sometimes when people hold certain views or live certain ways, they try to make others who disagree or live differently, feel unsettled or try to act like their morals are above everyone else’s. Have you ever met a “health freak” who only consumes organic food and works out like everyday and tries to make you feel like a lazy slob for not exercising and for eating junk all day? Or a vegetarian who tries to make you feel like you are less compassionate than that person is or like you are cruel for eating meat? Or a pro life advocate who acts like s/he lives with better morals than you or is more loving or trustworthy than you if you’re pro choice or had an abortion? Or acts like you’re a murderer? Lol Or a pro choice advocate who tries to intimidate you into thinking you are cruel or anti-woman or not for equality or women’s rights if you are pro life? Or like you’re a selfish control freak who tries to run people’s lives? Or a prudish person who acts like you live a very immoral life if you’re promiscuous? Or a very educated person with an advanced school degree who arrogantly acts like you or your education or lack of education is/are inferior to that person? Or a religious person who acts like that person is somehow above you with better morals and is more trustworthy than an atheist or a condescending atheist who acts like s/he is more intelligent or reasonable than you if you are a person who believes in g/ods? Or a person with a lot of money who acts like s/he’s better than those with less? Or a working class/jobless person who tries to guilt trip you for having money and having fun with it and having three family cars while “kids in Africa are starving?” or a Republican/Conservative who thinks you’re a barbarian with no morals and no brain if you’re a Liberal. Or a Democrat/Liberal who claims you’re a heartless, sexist, racist, fascist, homophobic monster who only cares about rich people and corporations, or parents who act superior to other parents who bring up their kids differently…
Certainly not all people in the groups I mentioned above do this but some do and it can be awkward to be around them when they act superior like this.
And it can be awkward even being around them when they aren’t like this because we may assume they are judging us for having opposing views or a different way of living.
“Kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give.”
Some people may become defensive and angry around them and some may feel that they have to justify their own lifestyle or views over and over or like they have to conceal it around certain people.
I am a vegetarian (for the animals, not for me) and have been for over a decade but I’m not going to throw ketchup on your fur coat or throw fire into science labs and throw wet dog food all over the cars of scientists who test on animals and I’m not going to assume I am more compassionate or love animals more than meat eaters. And I won’t go all apeshit if you eat a real hotdog in front of me. I have had people tell me sorry over and over for not being a vegetarian or for eating meat while in my presence even when I wasn’t saying a word or even thinking something negative about those people. Who the hell am I that I must be apologized to or have to have things justified to me? Lol And sometimes I have felt a bit guilty even though I wasn’t intentionally trying to make them feel uncomfortable or guilty.
I usually never even tell people anymore that I don’t eat meat unless it comes up somehow. When I was a girl and very young woman, I did used to be in people’s faces with my vegetarian views and other views and I was arrogant about it, and then I grew up, fortunately.
Some occasions I was the arrogant one trying to inflict guilt and anger on others and other occasions I was the one feeling the need to justify my views and say “sorry” just for being a certain way.
But usually, neither one of those is necessary for any of us.
No matter what side of an issue we support or how we live, someone can make us out to be a monster or to be dumb or say horrible things about us. Even if we’re not so bad. Some opinions really do suck. And some opinions probably are better left unstated even though we have the right/privilege to state them, it doesn’t mean we have to.
But really none of us are better no matter what our views are or way of living is like. I’m not better than people who do what I mentioned above. I understand that many of us do often feel that our way of living, our lifestyle, our views…are best, that’s why we live and believe how we do. But we don’t have to act like we are better than anyone else. We can judge opinions or actions without judging the person as a whole. Judging isn’t necessarily wrong. It’s how we go about it that matters, in my opinion. But of course, I’m not telling people how they should live or act or talk or be. I’m just sharing my opinion and giving suggestions. People can give me suggestions as well! It’s good to help each other open to different ideas.
“Be polite to others, not because they are polite but because you are.” ❤
I may be going off on a bit of a tangent but somehow I feel that it ties into my original topic. When I was writing about not judging and about being kind, I felt that it may be coming off as preachy and that isn’t my intention so I got into all that.
I never want anyone to feel awkward around me if we have different views or ways of living. I don’t even want people who tend to act overly judgmental sometimes, like the ones I mention above, to feel awkward around me because I advocate for being not too judgmental. Also, like I said, I myself have done some of the things above. I learn more and more each day and practice more and more to be as loving as I can be. Like the Buddha, as mentioned in the Buddhist Liberating prayer (http://kadampa.org/buddhism/prayer-to-buddha), I want to be a “supreme unchanging friend” and “love all beings without exception” no matter what. And I will practice and learn and love as much as I can.
I love the idea of “supreme unchanging friend.” Imagine having a friend you know without a doubt will be right here waiting to warmly embrace you no matter what you do or have done, a friend who will never judge you as the person you are even when you are wrong, stupid, cruel, even if you do something terrible to that friend. A person who will help guide you in life, in a loving way, not a condescending way, maybe judge your actions if they are seriously detrimental but never you.
You can “steal” her/his husband, stab him/her in the back, betray that person, disappear for years, kill someone, even try to kill that friend! But s/he will be right here waiting with open arms when you want to come home again! She’ll meet you anywhere at any part of the day. She’ll answer your phone call at 4:00 in the morning, drive or take a bus to meet you across the city at 10:00 at night, miss a day of work to sit and soothe you when you are in pain, hug you when you are lonely, take you out for lunch when you’re having a bad day even if you just said cruel insults about her or betrayed her in some way…
There’s only one thing in this life I want more than to have a friend like that. That one thing is to BE that friend to others. And “friend” doesn’t necessarily have to mean a personal friend you hang out with but just someone who is always here when you want someone. This friend can be a teacher, a family member, an acquaintance, a neighbor, a homeless person, a religious person who teaches you, a monk or nun, a rabbi, or priest or minister, a coworker, your mamma,…. anyone.
Mothers in general and pets are inherently like this. We can look up to them.
Many people see this friend as a pushover who is stupid or naive and let’s people get over on her/him. But it runs deeper than that. It’s about true love, not about fear or longing or need or attachment. It’s not about being too stupid to realize or fear of saying no or needing to be accepted by the ones who call on us. It’s about genuine love for others. Selfless love with absolutely zero expectations.
I hope you have that friend but even more, I hope one day you will BE that friend to others or at least just to one person. And even if we can’t or won’t be this way to this extreme, at least maybe we can keep reminding ourselves that it’s better to be kind than to be shown kindness, sweeter to love than to be loved, greater to accept, understand, and help than to be accepted, be understood, and be helped.
It’s better to be betrayed than to betray, better to be bullied than to be the bully. Better to be stabbed in the back than to be the backstabber. Better to trust and then be deceived or broken or betrayed than to never trust or take chances. Better to love and be crushed than never love.
We can’t control what others are and do, say, or think, and it’s not our place to anyway. But we can help what we are and what we do, and I hope we will all be the best we can be in each moment and forgive ourselves and each other when we’re not.
Some occasions it may be better not to be “soft” or “warm” but to be more assertive and to say what people may not want to hear. To stand our ground, say no, and criticize in a constructive way even if people are angry. The Buddhist concept of “offering the victory,” letting others often be “right” even when they aren’t and giving in, letting everyone else go first, it’s a great way to live in general but sometimes, at least in my opinion, we do have to speak up and be more assertive, maybe even a bit aggressive at some points, but that’s not necessarily unkind or rude. Sometimes “a kick in the ass” and clearly saying “NO!” is more compassionate than warmth and giving in. But often, I think gentleness is good. ❤
If we want to see more kindness, love, and light around us and all over the world, let’s BE kindness, love, and light everywhere we are.
It likely won’t change the entire world but it will be a start and at least put a little bit more light around us and can inspire others to do the same. Even if we alone can’t change the whole uni-verse, we can change our own little corner of the world for the better and inspire others along the way. Then who knows?! Maybe together we CAN change the whole world for the better!
I’m wishing you much love today & always and I hope you’re having a lovely day or night wherever you are! ❤
Xoxo Kim ❤