Why being kind is good for you and others
A moment please, and a word about biding your tongue and minding your manners.
I was out shopping last week, and I came across a store employee who had just been chewed out by a customer. There was a long line, the store was short staffed, and the lady who complained promised to speak to the manager in hopes that the employee would be punished. Needless to say, the young woman was humiliated and hurt.
On a more personal note, I had extended a kindness to a friend recently, and I received no word of thanks or even an acknowledgement of my efforts. So, you know what I did?
I didn't lash out at the friend. I didn't take her to task for hurting my feelings. I didn't gossip about her.
I shrugged it off and reminded myself that her indifference to my actions could have been because of something else going on her life. (Honestly, I don't think she would hurt my feelings on purpose. She most likely doesn't even know how I feel.)
I reminded myself to not read into her motivations. I've found when I do that—not ascribe motive to other's actions—I'm a happier person.
The scenarios we imagine in our heads are usually far more harsh than reality. "They did such and such because . . ." By practicing our anger, and by that I mean imagining why someone acted as they did, we stir up hateful feelings for others and stir up hurtful feeling for ourselves.
Since I first saw that Jane Eyre quote, I've loved it. I think it goes hand in hand with a favorite bible verse: A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1
So please—for your sake and others'—take a breath, say a prayer, and be kind. Practice your patience, and practice kindness. It will benefit everyone.
What do you do when faced with hurtful situations?