It takes strength to be kind

My friend Leah started a wonderful blog called Nice Things Now where she catalogs ideas to make the world a nicer place. (You know what would be nice? Taking a look right now. Go ahead! I'll wait here.)

She emailed me the other day about this tweet from our friend Karen (who incidentally writes a blog and a book about the beautiful things in life):

Karen and I were emailing about something when I wrote that, I can't remember what exactly, and when she quoted me on Twitter like if I was some sort of thought leader proclaiming a new truth I laughed at her kindness. It was so nice of her to immortalize the words, but I like to believe most people think the same thing.

However, since that day a few people have asked me what I meant when I said that.

I don't know if I read that somewhere, but it's something I repeat to myself daily.

It takes strength to be kind.

People who are weak mistake swagger or cruelness with strength, and kindness with weakness. Have you noticed that?

This is a mistake.

It takes confidence to be kind because your own self-worth isn't threatened by the actions of others. People who are kind don't need to put others down in order to lift themselves up. They have the freedom to show kindness without caring what other people think about them.

So when I meet a kind person, all I can think about is how strong they are. When I have a choice between being kind or being ordinary, I remind myself that it takes strength to be kind. When someone tries to take advantage of me because they perceive my kindness as weakness, I smile kindly as I stand my ground. Firmly. And then I feel sorry for them, because they didn't get the reaction they expected and the ensuing confusion gives me a little edge.

(That's not so kind, I admit.)

Being kind makes me feel strong. I'm no martyr. Kindness feels good.

I'm not perfect. There are times when I am not the kindest. So what? I pick myself up, and try again.

I expect to pass through life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.  ~William Penn