When you’re on the receiving end of kindness — it’s milk — a honeyed, palliative sap with all associations of mothering & the cosseted dark womb.
But being kind is an altogether different experience.
It’s rising in the dark to run despite rain & icy winds while the world is sleeping.
Being kind can mean:
. Suppressing the urge to lash out because you feel momentarily better.
. Letting it go through to the keeper.
. Putting your needs second, third or taking them off the table, this time.
. Not adding fuel to the fire though you’re desperate to do so.
. Refusing to let someone else’s feelings determine yours.
. Sometimes, not speaking out.
. Sometimes, not saying what you really think.
. Appreciating a person is not just their last encounter with you.
. Remembering the good when you don’t want to.
. Knowing that when someone strikes at your sense of self it’s because they desperately need to affirm theirs and feeling compassion, rather than anger, for that humanness.
. Seeing yourself in the above.
. Admitting that you too can be unkind.
It’s not for the meek. Kindness demands vigilance, acute self-awareness and internal restraint, for which the rewards are not always obvious.
You also need to know the border at which kindness transmutes into self-abuse and not step over it.
That’s the sharper edge of the practice that means you must also:
. Lift the lid & name what is in front of you.
. Decline to buy into it.
. Refuse to agree because it’s easier and you’re lobbied (silently) to do so.
. Draw a boundary that is absolute.
All of which can be done with patience and love. But it’s not easy. Kindness can be a brutal master.
Dionne Kasian-Lew is the CEO of The Social Executive® a consultancy advising boards and executives on social media for business. Dionne is a professional speaker and author rated by Kred in the top 1% for global community influence. She is a graduate and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. – See more at: http://www.dionnekasianlew.com/about/#sthash.aqucmc6Q.dpuf
This article was first published on Be Your Whole Self, you can reach Dionne there or @dionnelew or on Google+.