Kindness is calming and healthy. Kindness brings things that happen in everyday life into proper focus. Once you extend Kindness to others, it gives back to you in ways both big and small.
Kindness costs nothing at all to practice. There is no rule book, no online course to follow, and you start by treating those around you differently. For example, we have a friend who always enjoys joking around. I would joke back at him with good-natured (so I thought) ribbing. Later I found out that some things I said hurt him.
Because I hadn’t started my Kindness Journey at that time, I figured that the friend was just thin-skinned and didn’t like being beaten at humor. When I found I had hurt him, I laughed it off and moved on.
Then I had my major health scare. The friend visited me in the hospital with Hal. I wanted to apologize for what I had said and done, but I was barely in and out of consciousness with a tube down my throat, so I couldn’t even try to talk.
When I finally left the hospital, the friend didn’t visit. The main reason was that Hal and I had moved far away from our friend. Hal told me again that I’d hurt our friend, but this time the message stuck with me. I tried apologizing, but things had deteriorated to the point where my apology went unanswered.
I discovered Kindness as part of my recovery therapy. I understood that the damage needed more than an apology. I began with short texts to our friend a few times a week. Since he still talked to Hal on the phone, I never discussed anything Hal told me.
It took several weeks before our friend realized I wasn’t trying to dig at him like I used to; I just wanted to talk occasionally. All of this effort was the price I paid for my past behavior. The Kindness I showed was free, and I made no effort.
It takes more than words to be kind. If you are correcting a past wrong, it can seem impossible. All I can say is that if you have to make an effort to be kind, it is worth it. It doesn’t cost a thing.
I am almost back to a neutral position with our friend. I’m the one who has to prove my sincerity, after all. In the end, I have learned how to practice Kindness, and I’ve regained a friend.