Kindness Is Not a Seasonal Brand
As I was listening to the radio the other morning, someone on-air said, “Isn’t this the time of year when we are all supposed to be nice to each other. It’s the holiday season and we should all be kind to one another, right?”
This sentiment struck me as disruptive on many levels, especially because at that very moment I was also witnessing an Uber driver honk, speed up and harass someone for cutting in front of him. Obviously, the Uber driver didn’t get the memo that it was “supposed” to be the season for kindness.
I’m not going to say that I’ve never been ticked off at someone for causing me to abruptly pit maneuver and slam on my breaks to avoid an accident, but I’m not a road rager. Not only do I not see the value in it, there are more important issues for me to get upset about.
After witnessing what I found to be a ridiculous display of frenzied bullying by the Uber driver, my thoughts jumped back to the statement on the radio. This attitude of needing a season in order to exercise kindness is so abrasive to my psyche. Kindness is not like cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie that we trot out and put on display shelves, only to exhibit during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Have we veered so far away from human decency that we have abandoned our sense of decorum the other ten months of the year?
Our current political climate certainly sets a reactionary, unappetizing example and tone for our country with petty bickering via Twitter. But are these the type of actions that will propel us forward and create unity?
We don’t have to follow suit and harmonize with negative behavior. Every moment of every day, we have the opportunity to react differently and set a better example. And even if we aren’t always successful, then we can start fresh the very next moment…from this moment forward.
There are times when I have been in a stressful situation—be it at work or in my personal life—and had someone call at that very moment to ask a question or chit-chat. Instead of pausing to gather myself, I was rude or abrupt. But, after I took a moment to reflect on my behavior, I usually called the person back to apologize, which isn’t always easy. Sometimes it might even take a day or two, but the more I practice it, the better I become.
It’s not about trying to be perfect, but it is about being considerate, compassionate and caring about a shared humanity; realizing that a small gesture can make a profound difference in someone else’s life.
Let’s make kindness an everyday tradition, not a seasonal one. It doesn’t cost anything and the universe will respond in like manner.