Saturday, December 5, 2015

3 Simple Ways in Which We: Can Be Kinder To One Another

art: charlavail

Correct People Without Shaming Them - Because we all start ignorant at some point about the things we know today. As much as many things may feel like "common sense", much of these things are common sense through the information spreading and raising awareness, and not because we were born with it from the start. The next time someone says something ignorant, attempt to correct behaviour without shaming them, because antagonistic information is often ignored. It is easier to swallow truth when it feels like it comes from your side, and not a way to attack your personhood. As much as it may be tempting to act high and mighty, we must put ourselves in the other person's shoes, for someday we might come across something we are ignorant about and wish people could be more understanding of us. 

One can see clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.

Cut People Some Slack About How They Look - A lot of meanness can stem from people being too preoccupied about people's appearances. As much as we seem to be hardwired as a species to let appearances influence the way we treat others, human agency obliges us to act above our instincts and to try and be open to seeing the beauty in others beyond what our eyes can see. Some put too much correlation between a person's care in their appearance and their care in the people around them, or even their job. So they might see an unkempt person as apathetic or lazy, and inversely, they might think that people who are well-dressed and well-kept are superficial. The problem does not lie in what society prefers between the two, but rather in its tendency to make appearances be evidence of what a person is like, when the only thing that sets well-dressed people apart from other people is their active interest in dressing well. This also applies to elements in our appearance that are out of our control - our weight, our complexion, our height, our disposition and natural inclination to smile or frown, and whatever else. We must try and see beyond what our eyes can see and therefore give ourselves a chance to interact with others deeply.

Refrain from being mean to people based on what little you know about them; even (or especially) people you think you know well. - All of us have inner struggles we wish other people would take into account when interacting with us in a way we are uncomfortable with. The world would be better off if we all tried to remember that when we deal with others. Sometimes the harsh criticism we throw at people's faces because we think they deserve it could just be the last straw that makes them break down, because they have been dealing with something we knew nothing about.

It's easy to apply this to interactions with people we barely know, because there is less incentive for us to devote so much energy in pulling them apart. In our close relationships however, we assume we know a lot about our loved ones, so we might feel like we are in a good position to be a judge. But this is where a lot is at stake. We can deeply wound people we are close to, and like it or not, there are still some things that we will not know about them simply because we are not them. In fact, they might already be self aware and trying to be better, in which case, the best thing we can offer is emotional support. So it is safe to assume that we need to be kind, even when we criticise for what we feel is a good reason. Throw unnecessary meanness out the window, because when we are able to guide people towards what's best for them without breaking their spirit, then we build trust, instead of a wall of defensiveness.

There will be times where we will have to criticise and fight in order to stand up for a common good-for bigger things, for our countries, the world, the galaxy, THE UNIVERSE?!?!?!!?!
...But in dealing with the people we have in our lives, we can really use trying to be more caring and foster a cooperative, nurturing environment so that when that time comes, we can come together easier. When we are kind, it becomes easier to educate each other, inform each other, care for one another, and come together for common goals that benefit everyone. This is really the simplest, easiest golden rule to live by. It's so simple that it sounds silly, but I think that's part of the point:

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