I’m still relatively new to the Kindness lifestyle. It takes a lot of effort to turn one’s life around and walk away from a lifetime of habits, mostly bad, that governed me without my realizing it for so long. I realized that I was no longer actually living, I was just a prisoner to a set of automatic reflexes that happened without any conscious thought. I was a prisoner when, in fact, I had the key to my freedom all along.

“Anger leads to the dark side”, as Yoda once said and he was right. I found myself enjoying being angry, thinking that somehow it made me a man to lash out at things in my life. Perhaps it was from watching adults as I grew up. I knew that I was different, I had been raised by liberal parents, but as I grew into adulthood I let myself get swept up in conformity, rather than expressing my individuality.

I got angry because that is what everyone expected. I got angry because it seemed like the only way to get things done. I got angry because I felt like people walked all over me unless I was angry. I missed the fact that my anger was killing me.

Americans like to refer to our collective anger as “stress”. That is partially accurate but stress is the end result of the anger we cultivate, harbor, and cherish. Americans mistakenly associate anger with strength and kindness with weakness, when neither of those are true. Kindness is a very strong emotion and governing principle.

So, I decided that I had to change. I made the conscious choice to rid myself of all the anger I could.

I apologize for the sudden break, but I turned on the tv and found out about the mass shooting in Buffalo, NY. This tragedy is exactly what I want no part of. A prime example of the anger that poisons our society. It hurts because Hal and I had just returned from our own neighborhood grocery store to see what happened to innocent people who went to their own neighborhood grocery store. The didn’t deserve to die. They didn’t deserve to be injured. I am crestfallen because I feel that anger trying to crawl back into my own consciousness.

My emotions are difficult to describe right now. I want to feel angry, but that is counter-productive. I want to be kind, but there are some people, like the murderer, for whom I cannot extend kindness at this time, if ever. I was going to describe my position prior to the tragedy as kindness to those who have done me no harm. Everyone deserves kindness until they prove they don’t deserve kindness.

What started as a wonderful feeling about transitioning from anger to kindness has become a testimony of my own sadness. The circumstances won’t change my commitment to kindness, I hope I can find the strength to continue on my journey.