Thursday, 6 February 2014


Why be mean when you can be kind??

I'm sure that at one point or another, we have all gotten mad at a complete stranger. Like, really, really mad.

Mad enough to forget our manners and "treating people the way we wish to be treated". I see this so, so often... and once upon a time, it was easy for me to slip into a temper too, as soon as a stranger gave me any reason to direct some anger at them.

But over the years, as I have learned to cultivate not only compassion but also my imagination, I've made kindness towards everyone not only a personal moral but also the compass of my actions and ultimately, my life. In fact, I consider compassion and creativity two elements that are, perhaps, the most important in creating a kind and considerate person.

Compassion is integral to kindness, for obvious reasons. I mean, compassion is a sort of sympathy and sympathy allows us to connect with others emotions. So it makes sense that compassion is a root of kindness.

However, imagination, or insight or perspective, is important as well. Not many people seem to associate creativity with kindness but I certainly do. To me, the first step to kindness isn't even compassion. It's being able to imagine the lives you interact with everyday. Being able to see people (or animals!) as beings, not objects or just another face in the crowd of your life. This ability to see further into people, even strangers, is the foundation of compassion because it leads you to really consider the impact your actions may have on the person (or animal!) in front of you.

One part of my life that really teaches me to be considerate is driving. On the road, as a new driver, I am now seeing a whole new side of people. Somehow, being behind the wheel transforms a lot of humans into rash, obnoxious and just plain mean people. It's like the people driving the machines become extensions of the cold, unfeeling machines that they are driving. Ugh.

So, one day when I was driving home after a long day in the studio, I encountered a woman that definitely tried my commitment to kindness. I wasted about three seconds of her time by making a left turn too late and she spent the next ten minutes driving around me trying to convey her anger at me. So, there she is making vulgar gestures and screaming things which were likely quite obscene (I didn't bother to pull down my own window). This presented a chance for me to decide on my treatment of this stranger.

I could have done what a lot of other people (including my younger self) may have done, and reciprocated her behaviour. Maybe even have tried to outdo her less than spectacular behaviour. But then I decided, no. It wasn't even about not sinking to her level but it became about separating myself from my shoes to imagine hers. Perhaps she had a really, really bad day. Or year. Or life. Maybe her job was all wrong. Maybe she was overworked and was heading home to more chores. Maybe she had recently lost a loved one. Maybe she suffered from a mental illness. Maybe she was always like that. Maybe. But I couldn't know for sure what her life was like, what was really going on in her mind and whether she deserved it or not. I made it my prerogative to not be one to contribute to her negative sense of the world. Or of other people.

So when she gave me the finger, I blew her a kiss and gave her a smile.

My own prize here? I got to go home with a lighter heart. I had been having a pretty long, annoying day. I was heading home fairly grumpy. But this woman presented me with an opportunity to feel good about myself. It gave me a chance to love and respect not only the world but also myself. And that was much, much, much better than heading home with lingering rage and a hate filled story.

My challenge to anyone who made it this far into this post? Ask yourself, really ask yourself:

"Why be mean when you can be kind?"

Because, really, being mean to anyone (even a stranger) destroys ourselves.

Next time you feel hate, jealously, bitterness or any other negative feeling, whether in general or at a person, just take a few moments and try to imagine what this person's life may be like.

Because what you choose to do next, can change even a fleeting stranger's life. Really.

My superpower is kindness. What's yours?

Love and hugs,

P.S. And always hold the door open for the person behind you! So simple but it always makes my day when someone does that, even if it isn't for me!



  1. Ha! I can totally relate to this post. I used to slip into a temper as well, but then found it funny that if you "kill someone with kindness" it slightly disorients them. You should try it, it's hilarious when someone gives you an attitude. Also, I do think if you treat someone with extra kindness not only does it make their day, but you feel better about yourself too. Hope you have a lovely weekend, Sabbie! x

    1. It is hilarious! And really weird to see them get so disoriented. It totally trumps losing your own temper!
      You have an awesome weekend as well :)


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