Tennessee Williams wrote, “I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers.”
Perhaps, in an ideal world. Yet, we don’t live in the ideal world. Just saying. That being said: Is depending on the kindness of strangers really a good idea? A viable strategy? I’m just asking.
On-line cyberbullying is the distinguishing plague of the Social Media Age we all live in. The anonymous, rather intentional cowards viciously attack others on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook without either remorse or any measure of accountability.
The tragic aftermath can be very dire. Young kids and teens have committed suicide as a result of these kinds of intentional assaults. So much for the kindness of strangers. What about compassion for others? What about kindness to our fellow human being? Really, just saying, albeit very sad.
So what are we gonna do? What am I gonna do? I have very little to do with what goes on inside another person. Yet, I choose who I’m going to be in any given moment. I choose to be kind: Be kind to others, and absolutely be kind to myself.
Yes, sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can hurt absolutely more. Words have either the power to give life or take it away, which can literally be the case in instances. So, in the face of the words that hurt and harm, I look within me.
When I grant kindness to myself, when I forgive myself for all that I’m not, then whatever cruel words come my way doesn’t matter. I accept who I am. I’m good with my own humanity: imperfections and all. So, I really don’t give a fuck about the cruel words coming my way. Like Sensei would say, “Take a glancing blow if you have to, then finish the throw.”
If someone wants to get in face, and bring the attack to me, so be it. My favorite French Sensei said, “Enter the attack and die with honor.” It’s on. Yes, in that moment I could win or I could lose. That’s the deal. Yet, the bully fears losing more than dying itself. More than just saying.
Over the years in my Aikido training, I’ve got that the external attacks, whether physical or in words, really don’t matter. O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba reminds, “True victory is victory over one self.” In Aikido training Sensei Bobby says, “Apply the technique on yourself.” It’s only about me overcoming me. There’s no real outside opponent.
Sure, there can be a lot of hate thrown my way. But, when I stop hating on me, when I forgive and grant kindness to myself, then what is there to resist against? Nothing. The external opponent is irrelevant. When I give myself a fucking break and accept my strengths and frailty, I start to overcome me.
Perhaps, the likelihood of kindness in the world is empirically low. Yet, kindness in the world might source from having kindness for ourselves. Then we can be kind to others, whether in our eyes, they deserve that kindness or not. Rather, who am I to judge?
Consider Information Theory. Perhaps, kindness is unlikely, has a low probability of occurrence in the world. When kindness does occur, a lot of information arises, rather kindness is the surprise. Don’t we all live for the unlikely? Don’t we all live for the surprise in life?
I believe that when kindness occurs as unlikely, occurs as scarce, then I can create kindness in myself and have kindness for others. That kind of kindness can be a sphere of influence in these bullying Social Media times, where everyone is victim of the Great Comparison Game. It’s not a comparison. It’s you loving and accepting yourself. More than just saying.
Yes, sticks and stones can break our bones, but when we’re kind to ourselves, the unkind words of the World will never hurt you. Just saying. And just practice kindness.
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