We often go about our days waiting for things and situations to magically change without changing our approach, getting frustrated when they don’t. Maybe you’re prone to anger because you think people should know what you want and need and give it to you so you pout when you don’t get it, even though you never said it clearly and openly. Maybe you like the feel of your busy cloak and have not time for people and their poepleness in your to the minute scheduled stride towards the top maybe be just a bit antisocial, entitled, riddled with biases, judgemental, smarty-pants who believes he/she has got it all figured out. Or you may be tired, exhausted, burnt out and have no energy to deal with people and all far too human drama that comes along.
Language carries the key to how we perceive. If you label it as “dealing with” you’ll see it as a task to be endured, a laborious thing thrust upon you and not chosen willingly, an unavoidable inconvenience. If you switch “dealing” with “understanding” or “learning” things change and you get immersed in the moment with a true intention to listen and help. One of the surest ways to get what you really want (assuming you know what that is) and need is to give others what they need, which is so often ridiculously easy and overlooked because we’re mostly deep into poking around our own mess. People mostly just want to be heard, to belong, ne useful and productive, to live and feel seen and good in their skin, to feel valued and accepted with all the flaws they’re (mostly) aware of and working on.
Kindness should be a default, a non-negotiable common decency and a way to live a full life within a community. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t feel like listening to you old neighbours story right now. She may have no one to talk to all day long, stay a minute, and give her a piece of fruit from the shopping bag you’re luging around. Treat people with respect because we simply don’t know what is happening in a life of another and we rarely (really) listen when they try to express themselves. Just as you’re rummaging through your own mess, searching for meaning, peace and clarity so is everybody else. Chances are you’re asking similar questions and are surfing the same curve just at different points. We’re all in the same boat at wild seas trying to hide the fact that the winds and waves might crash our fragile float because it seems so undignified to show you don’t have it all together. There is no shame in struggling, we all are and no one has it all together as a default state.
We should more often dismount our high horses and safe realms of polite chit chats and really talk. Be kind where ever you can. It takes so little to encourage or comfort, to step out of the faceless helloes and connect. Most towers, walls and prisons are self-made and we willingly stay in them because they are known and comfortable. What would happen if you just showed up as you with some kind understanding instead of judgemental avoidance? Remember – kind does not mean naïve or a doormat. Setting boundaries of what is acceptable and unacceptable makes us more compassionate because there is no hidden resentment. Be kind.