I’ve been thinking a lot lately about kindness. Not very exciting, I know. It isn’t nearly as sexy or glamorous as other qualities such as bravery, honor, or even chivalry. In fact, I’ve noticed that sometimes kindness even has a negative connotation. “Kindness,” some would say, is a sign of weakness. I could not disagree more.
I think kindness is one of the single most important qualities that we, as human beings, can aim for. In fact, I would argue that kindness is brave. Kindness shows honor. Kindness lies at the root of chivalry. Kindness, in my mind, is noble.
Our culture encourages “toughness.” Buck up. Act like a man. Take it on the chin. Emotion is seen as a sign of weakness – of not being strong enough to hold it all inside. All too often I hear people bragging about being “brutally honest.” I’m not going to baby you, they announce proudly. If I don’t like something you’re going to hear about it. As if that person is personally responsible for making everyone else tougher.
Honesty is a very, very important quality to me. Brutality? Not so much.
When I hear someone boasting about their so-called “brutal honesty,” I translate that to: I’m a self-important jerk who can’t be bothered to make the effort to phrase things tactfully. That person does not impress me; that person makes me sad.
Now I’m not perfect by any means, but I still believe in honor. I try. I still believe in braveness, chivalry, and – yes – kindness. When someone makes me mad, I take a step back and consider their motivations. This does not mean that I run away from problems or that I’m afraid to stand up for myself; it means that I give my fellow human the benefit of the doubt, and when that fails, I communicate as clearly but kindly as I know how.
It is not weak or soft or easy to be considerate of others. It is difficult and trying and sometimes infuriating to be kind when others don’t return the favor. But that’s why I know it’s worth it. A code of ethics is not about impressing people or appearing noble – it’s about doing what you know is right no matter what. No matter if that makes others think you’re weak. It’s about making the right choice even when it’s the difficult choice. True badasses aren’t brutal; badasses are kind.
I believe that “brutal” has little place in honesty… or honor. I believe that kindness, however, does.
What do you think?Share this: