“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution” …Kahil Gibran
Kymari and Puppy (J. McCurdy Crooks)
Ever since I can remember, I try to be kind to others. My parents thought us to be nice to others. My mom would give the best to others, so it’s no surprise that I will give away my last dollar. But as I have gotten older, I have come to realize that you can be ‘too nice’.
People will take advantage of your kindness. I don’t worry about people being ungrateful, I am not kind because I expect something in return. However, I know that my kindness may be ‘preyed’ on by those who just enjoy taking even when they don’t need or want what I give.
Examples Where ‘Kindness’ Can Kill
If you are a manager and you are always trying to protect your staff, by explaining away their mishaps and correcting the issues yourself; you may get ‘punished for being kind-hearted’. Or if you are always giving another chance, and not writing a formal letter of reprimand to a worker, you may be doing more harm than good. Even if you have spoken repeated about what is being done or not done, you could still find yourself in the wrong. For example, something finally goes really wrong and no one remembers your corrections and reprimands. Even worse, it is said that you never brought up or try to correct the mistakes before, so they were ignorant that mistakes were being made. In a situation like this, your kindness could cost you your job.
Have you failed to correct or discipline your child out of love? You may end up doing them more harm than good as they grow up feeling entitled. This can lead to lots of stress for you, the parent, and we all know that stress can kill.
Sometimes, if you are like me, you can be so kind that you try to protect others even when they are undeserving of such protection. Unfortunately, these very people may easily ‘throw you under the bus’ to protect themselves or out of plain maliciousness. This type of behavior can also happen with family members and friends. Yes, kindness can kill.
When Kindness Pays
But those moments when someone surprises you with a potted plant because they know you love plants is worth it for me. The unexpected email saying thank you for a kind word that made a difference to someone’s day. I almost cried when I received a package from a co-worker and looked inside to see the book, The Road Map For Life by Ellen G. White. She said she knew I would enjoy reading it and to say thank you for listening and providing support. Yeas, kindness can kill, but the rewards are priceless.
Instead of becoming bitter, I have used some of these experiences to grow and hopefully become a better person. Will I stop being kind? Never! Being kind is who I am, but that doesn’t mean that I am stupid; it just means that I like being kind.
As I grow older, I have come to realize that Jean Maalouf author of The Healing Power of Kindness was right:
Kindness requires maturity, imagination, determination, and certainly a big heart. It extends to the entire universe. It is a way of being at home in the universe, with the seen and the unseen, with life and death, in God’s creation and in God’s presence and energy, which is pure love.
So, if people are unkind to you, be kind anyway. You will feel better for it; never let the ungratefulness and mean-spiritedness of others cause you to be become bitter and unhappy. Continue to be kind but be wise as well.