I have had so much kindness displayed to me in my life.
For this I am eternally grateful.
While I was still waitressing at the Newsroom, five years ago, my regulars, The Simons, came in for lunch as usual. I was upset, and they noticed. My nephew Blaise had just been born in Atlanta, and there were major complications. He was in Intensive Care and was having his brain scanned. I was crying as I was taking their order for Arnold Palmers. I had no money to fly there, and I was scared for him, and for my sister. I got their iced tea-lemonades and came back.
They told me they were sending me to Atlanta.
And that they did.
I will never forget that act of kindness.
Now that is a big example, but there are lots of small ones. Every time I go into my bank, the tellers all know my name and say hello. It's like the TV show Cheers. Small acts of kindness like this are not small to me at all.
They keep me going.
So, back to mean people. Yeah, they pretty much suck. And kind people pretty much rule.
I know that their lack of kindness is coming from a deep well of unhappiness or insecurity or tiredness, or because someone else was just lousy to them. So, here is my advice to them: take a deep breath in, bite the inside of your cheek if you have to, but, under no circumstances, should you do or say something to tear someone down or to try and make them feel less than.
So, what I decided is that to make up for every person who is less than kind I will be extra kind.
Will you do it with me? It feels good. Be kind for no reason. Be kind to a homeless person. Be kind to the person in the car next to you. Be kind with your thoughts. Be kind to yourself.
This is the essence of yoga to me.
As The Yoga Sutras says, “In the face of negativity, one should cultivate the opposite view.”
So yeah, mean people may suck a little tiny bit.
There may be a moment when you feel like they have sucked the life out of you, but you will get back up with a smile, and you will go do something nice for someone or yourself. You will forget about anything else. Your kindness, whether it was given or received, will overpower anything perceived as meanness.
This is really the bottom line anyway, isn't it? If we are to take nothing personally, then even "meanness" should go unnoticed.
Yeah, I am working on it too.
So, today, let's kill 'em with kindness.
Oh, and P.S., here's a little secret: It is way easier to be kind than mean. And it keeps you young.