Why is it so hard to be kind?

Why is it so challenging to be kind? I ask this question myself because I'm aware of my rare unkindness to the people I don't know. I rarely stop being kind, especially when the other side is unkind.

But isn't responding with kindness the best reaction to a rude person? Isn't it what keeps our personality intact? Isn't it what makes us untouchable?

I observed others when they were in a conflict, and kindness often made one side partly superior—not as arrogant but as better or outstanding. Also, kind people don't chase this superior feeling; they are usually humble. Yet, they fall into a trap and act rudely in certain situations.

Then, I asked myself, why are we discourteous even though we're generally compassionate and caring?

Kindness is so challenging because of our daily stress routine. We're often rushing somewhere; we're late. We're nervous. We're frustrated. Something happened. We have a big chunk of emotions we can't even express. You name it. Within all the daily emotional rollercoasters we have, the last drop overflows the glass, and we abandon kindness. Just for a bit. Temporarily, like five seconds. The five seconds we will regret.

For instance, I cannot stand cunning people because they make me feel stupid. Recently a devious person cut the line in the supermarket, and something inside me fired up, and I acted. My reaction was also unkind. If this person had asked me, I could have voluntarily given up my position in the queue, yet they didn't. They chose the unkind way, and so did I.

Once we abandon kindness just for a bit, it's already too late. There is no turning back. It's like breaking a vase. We can glue all the pieces together, but it will be a broken vase forever.

Later, I regretted my discourteous action because the situation created an inner conflict. This conflict is the main reason I'm asking the above question myself. Inside me, I broke a small vase that can't be entirely repaired.

When we respond to rudeness with kindness, the unpleasant situation suddenly sees a bright light. A tiny light of hope bears inside us and tells us everything will be all right. A light like the one coming after a scary storm in the ocean. A light that arises hope for humanity and peace and brings beauty and color.

"The only thing I do know is that we have to be kind. Please, be kind. Especially when we don't know what's going on." quote is from Waymond from the movie Everything Everywhere All At Once. The quote is posted on a background picture of Waymond from the movie.
In the movie Everything Everywhere All At Once, all the people are kind inside. But circumstances create inner conflicts for them, and everything results in unkindness.

All these feelings and consequences are there, and it's good that I can see them. But still, the question I asked remains unanswered. Perhaps I need to change the question and approach from another perspective: Waymond's.

How to be kind to strangers, especially when they are not kind to us?

Not being kind has a rolling effect; the more unkind we are, the more stress and anger we accumulate. Lately, I have been building up stress and tension, and being kind has become more challenging. I moved to a new city and got a new job. Everything is new, and it is stressful to improve on every front while trying to adapt to them. To prevent kindness from falling over, I changed a few things.

While training my body in the gym, I'm training my mind more heavily these days with meditation. The core of mindfulness meditation is noticing. Maybe, we can recognize how we are being treated and notice feelings accumulating inside us. We can notice and acknowledge our harmful emotions instead of preventing them from suddenly unleashing as unkindness. And maybe, maybe, we can let them go. It is not easy, especially in the middle of heated-up arguments but worth a try. Noticing requires consistent practice, but even noticing once helps to advance.

I'm also trying to improve my relationships with the community and help others. These nice things help me relieve stress and build kindness. I started spending some time in non-profit organizations and helping those less fortunate than me in this harsh life. I'm not doing these to show kindness. I'm fighting back unkindness. I'm trying to relearn it.

We evolve every day; we cannot stop. It's an endless journey. The only thing we, you and I, can do to impact this change is to choose a direction. We can make a conscious decision in which way we want to evolve.

And that way has to be kindness.

Medium Length Last Updated: Nov 23, 2022