The contrarian point of view here could have been "Enabling Meanness," but really, who really wants to focus on being mean instead of being kind anyway? I guess perhaps we can accept the fact that …
The contrarian point of view here could have been "Enabling Meanness," but really, who really wants to focus on being mean instead of being kind anyway? I guess perhaps we can accept the fact that some people have a mean streak, or they are mean-spirited, or maybe they have just become a self-proclaimed meanie over time.
As I wrote this column the question I found myself asking was: Why do some folks choose to be mean instead of being kind? Why do some people look so hard for the bad that they completely miss the smallest bit of good and kindness right under their noses? Is it because we have fostered a culture of meanness at home or at work? Do we enable and permit people to be mean to us and to others for the sake of maintaining a very unhealthy relationship? Or have we lost our nerve and just accept any behavior so we don't rock the boat, even if it is mean behavior?
Now here's the deal, we can choose to enable meanness or we can empower kindness. You see, we get to choose, don't we? Sometimes we have to accept sadness just like sometimes we know that bad things do happen to even the best of people. Yet even with that said, we never have to accept being treated meanly by anyone, especially when we can choose to empower kindness and receive kindness.
Kindness is and should be a two-way street. Most times we do get back what we give out, not 100 percent of the time, but my experience tells me most times. When we say hello, we usually get a hello back. When we smile, most times we get a smile back. When we are courteous to others we are typically greeted with courtesy in return. Again, not always, there are times where we try our best to be polite and kind only to be met with the unpleasantness and wrath of someone who chose to be mean that day.
And I don't know about you, but one of my very favorite things to observe is watching an interaction between two people where one person is berating the other person, thinking that a tone of anger and rising voice will get them what they want. And yet the other person remains calm, confident, helpful and rooted in kindness. Two people, same conversation or interaction, and yet one chooses to be mean while the others chooses kindness. Which one are you? Which one do you want to be?
Kindness is a behavior. Kindness is an attitude. Kindness is a choice. Kindness is all around us if we just look for it and are open to receiving it.
One of my favorite quotes when it comes to kindness is this one by William Penn, "I expect to pass through this life but once. If, therefore, there may be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I may do to any fellow being, let me do it now and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."
How about you? Does it depend on the day or even the moment if you choose kindness or is kindness part of your everyday being? Either way I would love to hear your kindness story at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we can remember that kindness is a choice, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.