Being kind and respectful is the way that I try to lead my life. Approaching things with curiosity helps me with this; however a couple of experiences recently have really made me stop and think about how I am being kind...
For me, I have very strong feelings about equality and inclusion, and to not promote these, or to be closed off to the possibility, feels to me unkind. I therefore often have feelings of discomfort within me when I perceive other people to not have kind thoughts or behaviours.
However, I heard something on a podcast recently which made me stop and think.
How we feel about certain things is often based on our own personal history, experiences and knowledge.
For example, how I feel about extending the hand of friendship and support to refugees is definitely heightened by the fact that a very good friend of mine works tirelessly to help young men fleeing the horrors of war in their own counties. The stories they tell are heartbreaking, and their attitude towards life and others is inspiring.
Would I feel so strongly about decisions the government is making, or people's opposing opinions if I didn't have the knowledge and experience of my friend's work? It's impossible for me to know. So maybe I could be a little gentler and a little kinder with those people whose knowledge and experience is different from my own.
I'm not saying that I am going to start excusing ignorance and unkind behaviour; however I do think that I could benefit from kindness working in all directions. I'm willing to give it a go anyway, and remain curious as to the difference it might make...
Thank you for listening.
*if you enjoy the themes of these musings and would like to learn more, or join in similar conversations, please head over to The Listening House.