Kindness is not Weakness
Have you ever said, “Man it took everything I had to not yell/scream/hit/cuss at that person”? Why did it take more effort to be kind, than to be unkind? Kindness is not weakness, kindness is strength. The myth that kindness is weakness probably came from someone who truly was weak, and the problem spread from there. There are people in our lives that make it difficult to be kind, but here is what I have noticed; Being nasty to someone only makes me feel bad, not the other person.
Kindness is Strength
I remember reading a story on Facebook about a mother who was in line at a fast food restaurant and the person behind her shouted racial slurs at her and her son. Instead of reacting badly, when she pulled to the window she paid for the racist persons meal. Her son was astonished, why would you be nice to someone who is mean to you? She explained that being mean is easy, being nice is much harder.
To be kind takes much more strength and self-control than to be unkind. Snapping at others, being rude or manipulating someone for our own gain is easy, being kind to someone who might not be so nice to you shows much more strength of character than someone who is being ugly.
We all want to be tough in a good way, we want to be tough parents to our children so that they learn about life. We want to be tough people and not let other people ‘get away with’ treating us like crap. First thing we need to do is look at the definition of tough, if we consult good old Merriam Webster there is a different definition for things versus people.
For “things” it reads “(of a substance or object) strong enough to withstand adverse conditions or rough or careless handling.
For “people” it reads “a tough person, especially a gangster or criminal.”
Pretty interesting eh, why are there two separate definitions? To me someone who is tough meets much more of the first criteria than the second. Someone who is tough can withstand all of the things that life throws at us and still be kind to the people around them.
Why Kindness Matters
As you are walking up to the grocery counter, someone runs in front of you to get in line. You are late, you are cranky and this jerk just made your already long evening a little bit longer, so what do you do?
You can yell at him “thanks jerk, you know I have things to do to” and he will probably yell back and then the two of you will have a 10-minute argument standing there in the grocery store line. Now you are more upset than you were to begin with, and it took longer. So now both you and the guy in front of you are worse off than if you had just been kind and let him go in front of you.
Kindness matters to your happiness because being unkind usually upsets you more than the other person. Let’s look at another example.
You are walking down the street and a woman in ragged clothes walks up to you, she is dirty and smells a lot like a garbage can. “Do you have any money I can have? My kids need to eat”
In this situation, a lot of people would walk away, but hardly any of them would feel good about it, and most would think about the woman and her children for the rest of the day.
Yes, it could be a scam and she might take your money and run right down to the liquor store, but she might go buy her kids or herself some food. It really isn’t up to us to judge, you can only control your actions, not hers, so make yourself feel better and give her a few dollars if you have it.
Treat Others How You Want to Be Treated
Sound familiar? It’s in the Bible and I talked about this a little bit in The Science of Happy. Besides being mentioned in Matthew 22: 36-40 that same sentiment is in Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31 and Philippians 2:4 just to name a few. Galatians 5:14 reads ” For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself”
I have noticed that following the Bible helps a lot in my happiness, maybe you have noticed it in my posts, but when something as striking as this verse comes up, you have to sit up and pay attention.
How Kindness Helps Your Happiness
When you are kind, you are calm, when you are angry you are not. It is really that simple, even if you really want to be nasty to someone, as soon as you are you have now added more emotion. You added more fuel to the negative energy fire. Staying calm and being kind smothers the fire and allows you to keep positive feelings in your life.
Think about a time you reacted badly (because we all have) to some situation. I bet that it is easy to remember one, or two, and maybe, even more times that you have reacted poorly to someone. Now think about all the times you reacted kindly to a bad situation, which one is more painful to think about?
Kindness allows you to let go of anger and open yourself up to being happy.