Hello, reader. How’s tricks? I’ve been thinking about what real kindness is. I’ve been pondering this for quite a while! But I got a new thought yesterday. My thought has four quadrants.
Ok, so this is what confused me. I thought kindness was word-kindness. If people talked nice to me–respectfully, directly, maybe praise, pausing for me, listening, making eye contact, with touch sometimes–I thought they were a kind person. I trusted them.
But of course that makes no sense. Some people it’s an act. Or they are genuinely kind with words, but selfish and harmful with actions.
“Pay attention to behavior, not words,” is an idea all around. “Talk is cheap!” is an idea everywhere. Yet it took me decades to get this.
There is someone I loved very much, who spoke respectfully and was very nice to me. The hugs were amazing. I was so charmed.
But their behavior was terrible. It was confusing. I realized they were good at words but had at behavior. Not like they are evil necessarily. But for me, they are not a helpful person.
I drew out the options.
Ming and I looked at this graphic together and listed various people we know, and where they belong, in which quadrant. Ming comprehended the axes. Smart baby.
Of course, everything’s on a spectrum. And people are mixed up and complicated. Almost nobody is going to get away with harm words and harm behavior. They would be left on an ice floe.
Sometimes I really like someone who seems mean. I’m like–why do I even like this person? How strange.
But then I realize–they talk mean, but they are always doing kind things. Something in my soul resonates with them and can tell they are actually on my side, despite the grumpy mood.
Thank you for letting me love you. Thank you for letting me deeply cherish you.
It’s a bad habit, I know. But good can come out of it, sometimes.