“Be kind or be quiet!”
I said the other day, during dinner in response to our key jar question. No hesitation, I just blurted it out the second I read the little strip of paper: “if you could give one piece of advice to the world, what would it be?”
My family stared at me for a hot minute. Because, well, typically answering these questions takes at least a moment of consideration. But not this one.
“Yes. That’s it. Be kind, or be quiet.”
Because you know, it’s the rules. For real though. Of all the things I’ve said and done that ultimately didn’t work or feel good, it was because I didn’t choose to be kind to myself or others.
Yes, really. At the root of each action is kindness, or lack thereof.
It’s so easy to be kind, but so often we make it difficult. It can feel more accessible, and therefore easier, to be angry, to hurt, to lash out, to mock, to ridicule, to put down, to withhold, to blame. Those negative feelings satisfy the primal parts of our brain, and we’ve been training our emotional center to function that way that since birth.
It’s basic human survival — experience pain, react, remember, protect. Fight or flight, right? But what about neither? What about staying, and thinking, and examining, and choosing the kindest path?
What about that?
Here’s the thing— the situation will be the same, but the person you are in the situation, and what happens as a result of that— that’s on you dude.
Maybe being kind means walking away, maybe it means leaning in. Maybe being kind means doing something for someone else and not for you, but maybe it means just the opposite. Maybe being kind means not being right, or first, or getting the last word in. Maybe being kind means sharing, maybe it means accepting. Maybe being kind means inviting, or declining, saying yes, or saying no. Maybe being kind means working harder to take care of your body and improve your health, or maybe being kind means working less. Maybe being kind means giving none of the fucks, maybe being kind means giving all of them.
The point is— that you can choose how to respond. You get to decide what “kind” looks like.
Kindness will always win. Kindness is love. Kindness is caring. Kindness is considerate, Kindness is little things that create a big picture. Kindness, is the human existence.
Be kind. Or, you know, be quiet.
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