The Challenge That Comes With Kindness

September 19, 2017

Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. A kind act.

So why is it so difficult for some people to accept an act of kindness?

I have found myself in this situation so many times I have lost track. I am kind to someone and the response is anger or second guessing. It is like people are expecting my gesture to have an ulterior motive.

Let me give you an example. Today, I was in the subway station and noticed a woman struggling to find change in her purse. I had just purchased some tokens and decided to give her one. I placed the token in the dispenser and said to the attendant "This is for her. I am paying her fare". He smiled and said thank you. However, the woman looked at me with anger and said "NO, you can't pay for me". I smiled at her and said "It's okay. I want to. Have a nice day" and she said "Unbelievable!" in a harsh manor and shook her head and walked away angry.

I stood there in disbelief.

Although, it should not have surprised me.

When I think back to the many times I've done something similar to this, the response has been the same. People unwilling to accept the gesture from a stranger. People feeling like there is something behind it. People being suspicious and unhappy.

Have we become a culture that is so lacking trust for one another that we can't even accept simple acts of kindness without feeling like there is some motive behind it? I really hope not. The more I thought about it the more it made me feel disappointed. Sad that we have come to this. I tried to think of a reason why this could be. I came up with this.

Why is it so difficult to accept a kind gesture from a stranger? 

First I thought: "What are the feelings you have when you are kind to someone? What state are you in?" For me, I feel a sense of grace and peace in the art of kindness.

Then I thought some more. When you are in a state of peace and grace you are more likely to accept kind acts and perform them as well. However, if you are not in a state of peace, how can you be kind?

It is difficult to be kind when your life is chaotic and your emotional states are up and down. When your mind is occupied with paying the bills, maintaining your relationships, getting out of debt, making sure the kids are fed, making sure you are healthy, keeping your status at your job...etc! So when you are so preoccupied with all of these things it is hard to be at peace and when someone does offer a kind act your inability to do the same brings up the angry feelings. It takes extra effort and with all the stresses of life it is hard to do.

In my opinion, the reason kindness is not accepted or done as often as it could be is because it expresses our most gratifying state, which is peace. Most of us are not at peace with ourselves so it is difficult to be at peace with others.

How do  you get that to that state of peace when you have all of these things going on? By working to take care of yourself. Make sure you are doing the things that bring about peace in your life. Let's face it, some things are outside of our control and we need to just accept that and do what we can do in those situations and leave the rest to what is. But when and where we can we need to be respectful and supportive of ourselves so we can in turn pass those feelings on.

So what makes me continue to do these gestures when they are not well received most times? My biggest weakness is I like to help people. I will continue doing what I can, even if my actions are only appreciated by the few. And in a nutshell I will continue to do so regardless of the outcome.

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  1. Wise words. Love your perspective on this. Great read

    1. Thanks. It was something I felt I had to share. Glad you enjoyed it.


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