I’m careful when I talk about kindness.
Because, it can too easily morph into another badge, label or appurtenance where there’s a hierarchy where some people (appear) to claim greater or more abiding kindness than others. And it’s too anthropocentric, meaning kindness isn’t just about us but all living things.
Also in the mix is how it’s been buffed up as another trope or meme and taken over by the advertising and PR industries who always claim, at least to my slightly narcissistic eyes, the higher ground or try to assert that somehow by wearing kindness in a bright, vivid way you can change yourself or those around you. Fine as it goes but the small acts of kindness, the ones that really matter, don’t need a megaphone or pitch to find an audience. In fact, if you started from that position then you’re unlikely to last the kindness course and would get found out pretty darn quick.
Notwithstanding the above, I recognise, in my own life, that kindness is something I sorely need to remember and I too easily fly off the handle or get the wrong end of the stick. I’m quite sure that if you spoke to those closest to me on the question of kindness you’d realise that my level of kindness — if that’s the right way of putting things — is decidedly patchy and at times, I’m just not very nice. I’ve no excuses and in fact, there are many occasions where I’ve said something in the heat of the moment which is I know isn’t kind or pleasant and, sadly, it will only add to my pile of regrets which if it’s not a mile high, seems to grow higher and higher with the passing of years.
When I read the above paragraph back to myself, I have to concede that perhaps I shouldn’t be writing about kindness unless that is I’m trying much harder to be kind, loving and attentive all the time, whatever the circumstances. Then again, and not to excuse any of my prior behaviour, we’re all human — i.e. we’re not Saints — and that means we do fall down too often and break the connection with our higher selves, or at least the version of ourselves that we’d prefer to be.
The thing is, I’m not going to say that 2022 is going to be the year that I really try to be kinder but it sure wouldn’t go amiss if I tried a little harder and, well, reigned in some of my less-than-polite musings or whatever it is that often catches me out. That’s code for saying that I’ll try to be kinder but I can’t guarantee it; and, in any event, the proof really is in the doing, not the talking about doing. You might think: this guy needs help. Possibly but, again, I don’t think, as I’ve said already, that anyone should be selling kindness either as a shield or a sword.
Anyhow, that’s enough of my prognostications. There’s work to be done — the legal variety. And the dogs to walk and a few other things that I’ve planned for the day (reading poetry and Mary Oliver’s book, Long Life).
Have a wonderful day.