So I have been watching kind people in movies, and I am reading Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography.
I am noting the discrepancy between the behavior I observe and the behavior I would have in the same situation.
It is so far out of my realm of possibility to be calm, allowing, and kind, maybe to even shut up, that it looks hopeless.
But like with everything, there is a threshold… a moment when something now invisible will show up and suddenly the whole business of change will become easy.
I have time. Kindness is not a born-in, born-with quality, it is learned, it is conscious, and it is the good wolf…
Kindness is also a capacity. I have kindness activated, but like with all capacities: you either live it or you don’t. It’s like singing… You have a good voice, you have good ears, but without practicing your scales, your moves, your breathing, you’ll not be a good singer. So: I can be kind. but I want to master kindness… and that is a whole other ball of wax.
One of the commonalities among the kind people I am trying to learn from is that they look at life through the long lens.
They don’t want to win every argument, every interaction. They do that in everything they do, not just in conflicts, or potential conflicts.
They don’t try to cash in on immediate gains, and they don’t flare up when it is not forthcoming.
Inside? Yes. Inside they are still people. But their behavior aligns with certain values that are higher than insisting on winning, or insisting on avoiding domination.
I used to have a life that was like a roller coaster… the move of the roller coaster that was sideways and jerking. Not the up and down… no, the sideways. The one that you can’t prepare for…
Everything was something to resist, something to fight, something to hate, something to fear. And most of it I acted out. Drama Queen extraordinaire… Firing Queen. Threatening, giving ultimatums… no smoothness, no peace.
Obviously I am no longer there… but there is a difference between where I am and where I’d like to be.
Now, when I am looking at Benjamin Franklin… he is around 21 years old where I stopped reading last night… and has already been cheated, fleeced, betrayed, penniless several times. He also went through an extreme argumentative phase. And a phase where he drove people nuts by using the Socratic method.
Doesn’t sound smooth. And yet…
He still strikes me as a man of kindness.
Obviously how YOU have kindness is not what I want to be. What you view as kindness is wholly inauthentic. Coddling. Lying so you can feel good.
I want to be able to see that on the long run nothing is as big a deal as it seems in the moment.
That people who want to cheat me, for example, should be allowed… then I’ll know not to do business with them any more. Whereas if I force them to comply, or pay, I just postpone the inevitable.
And all this in a way that it is a calculated risk…
What prompted this article is someone having unusually strong emotions I have tuned into. Do I know who? I think so.
They are torn between paying me and not.