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  • The Strategic Perspective

RULE 5: BE KIND TO OTHERS

Updated: Oct 11, 2019

This is something we all learn in preschool, if not well before. I’m certainly not about to offer you some groundbreakingly profound piece of advice. So, please allow me to insult your intelligence for a moment. We must all be reminded to be kind, from time to time, as it is the quintessential element of a life fulfilled.


I say we must be reminded to be kind to each other because kindness, along with empathy, seems to be lacking more and more. There is, however, no shortage of grandstanding. Have we forgotten how to be genuinely kind to each other? Without expecting something in return? Have we forgotten how to be kind to strangers? What about those we don’t really care for? What about those we say we care for but don’t always agree with?


Over the past few years, more marriages have fallen apart, friendships lost and families strained, simply because they do not agree with each other’s choice in political affairs. This should terrify you down to your very core, especially if this has personally affected you. The most ironic part is that both sides talk about the damage that each side is doing to this country, without realizing that they, themselves are doing more damage than any politician, of any political party, ever could.


If history has shown us anything, it’s that it’s nearly impossible for most politicians to get anything done, even when they are trying their hardest (No offense if you are a politician. In fact, if you are and feel like scratching my back, I’d be more than happy to scratch yours, wink wink). XYZ politician is not personally calling to order you stop having a relationship, or showing kindness to those on the opposite side of the aisle. Not as long as we live in a free society. Believe it or not, we are the only ones who can take that away from ourselves. (Newsflash: Most politicians are actually friends with each other, when not pandering for your votes).


It’s much harder to blame ourselves for our own faults and relationship failures. To take responsibility for our own actions. My last post was about personal accountability so I won’t dive any deeper here. I will, however, say this; if we all made the decision to be kind to each other, to respectfully hear each other out, especially if we don’t agree, we would all be much happier while having relationships that are more fulfilling than not. Hearts filled with more joy than hate!


With all of this said, you can still see kindness every day if you look for it. I still hold the philosophy that most people are generally more good than bad. That most people will typically do the right thing when given the opportunity. I still believe in our collective culture and that we will find our way back to solidarity once more. As divided as we are as a nation, the USA has seen many times of greater division and bounced back stronger than ever.


We must first though, remember this basic rule; to be kind to each other. I have spoken previously of the cancer I like to call “Me! culture”. How we have been taught, as adults to protect our own self-interests over the interests of everyone else, sometimes at any cost. How this is aiding to a population of incredibly unfulfilled, narcissistic, self-involved juvenile adults, leading us into a society in decline. I have also written about the 8 primary human emotions, disgust is one of them. I spoke of how since disgust must be learned, it can be unlearned. We need to do the same thing here. We must unlearn the “Me! culture” by first de-glamorizing it. Then we can get back to basics.


This shouldn’t be too hard for parents of small children. Nearly all day, every day, we teach them to share and play nice with others. It’s time we start taking some of our own advice. It’s the foundation of civilization, society, and the bedrock to a fulfilling life. Start with what I like to call, “Kind light”. Do simple things every day like holding open doors for strangers, smile more, offer up your seat on public transit (or at least pick up your bag from the seat next to you), let people merge in traffic, you know, simple things like this.


One thing I noticed from one part of the country to another is that in one part, people tend to literally and unabashedly rush to beat someone to the front of the line. Almost always with a scowl on their face or another look of displeasure, like they were breathing in bad air, except no one farted. Then while standing there, maybe a foot away, would do everything they could to avoid eye contact, knowing what they just did was rude. That feeling, by the way, is called shame but that feeling still doesn’t stop them from doing it again and again. This attitude is “Me! culture” because “It’s all about me baby!”


In other parts of the country, people will walk at their normal pace while on the way to a line. If you happen to get there at the same time, a funny moment of almost friendly conflict breaks out, telling the other person to go first. This generally only lasts a second or two until one person accepts, says thank you and they both feel good about what just occurred. They may even strike up a little friendly banter about this or that while waiting for the checker. Small things like this go a long way towards feeling happier, making a bad day better, a little bit nicer and feeling more fulfilled.


So… be kind, please rewind… yourself, back to the simple gestures of friendliness you knew as a child.


-JE


joshua.edelstein@thestrategicperspective.com