I Try to Be Kind

Captain’s Log   5,728

I try to be kind.  I really do.  I don’t kill spiders or crickets in my house.  I don’t eat animals.  I don’t harass people.  I don’t expect more than what people can give or are willing to share with me.  I am grateful for the experiences I have had and all the people who have come through the doors of my heart and soul.  I apologize freely and easily.

Most importantly, I forgive people.  The more you do it, the easier it gets.   But the funny thing about forgiveness is that it starts with yourself.  If your soul is not ‘”clear,” there is no way you can experience forgiveness.  Several years ago, there was a blogger out there who made life a living hell for me and several of my friends.  She was harsh and unforgiving.  She said cruel and hateful things on her journal about me and my friends.  Yes, I was angry, but I wanted it to be over.  I knew that I had allowed her to frustrate me – to bring me to anger – to make me feel disgust and outrage.  And I didn’t like myself very much for that.  I had allowed her to enter with her darkness and diminish me.  I held some responsibility too.  I let her hurt me.  I gave her power over my own truth.  And I fed into her darkness by talking about her with others – almost taking glee in how much we disliked her.  We even fantasized about taking a bus to her small hometown and jumping into the fray as a group.  It was wrong to do that.

So I announced on my journal (Diaryland) that I had to forgive myself before I could get about the business of dealing with her.  I got several frantic and questioning emails.  Poolie!  You didn’t do anything wrong!  Why should you be sorry?  Well, it wasn’t about being sorry.  It was about letting go of my own attachment to the game.  It was hard work.  It took weeks to tame the beast of anger and disappointment.  I worked hard to replace my need to be loyal with my desire to release this angry and bitter woman to her own creation.

When I was ready,  I called her on the phone.  I had never spoken to her, but it was easy enough to find her number on the internet.  Imagine the surprise (for both of us) when we found ourselves have a conversation.  I wasn’t angry.  I did not raise my voice.  I spoke kindly and rationally about the situation and my feelings surrounding the mess.  I did not blame her or shame her.  I simply spoke the truth.  I wished her well.  I know she was shocked.  I know she was waiting for the hammer to fall on her head, but it never did.  I forgave myself and was therefore able to release her and all the power she had taken over my thoughts and feelings.

She did not stop being mean, but she never mentioned me again.  She tangled with more people and caused more hurt.  But I could detach and not let the pain enter my little world anymore.  I could keep her at a distance.  There are people in the world that must be kept at a distance.  Those who diminish you (or at least try) cannot be given dominion over the truth of who you really are. 

I am not a master at this.  I work hard when faced with people who hurt me.  The brave ones say it to my face but the cowards talk behind my back.  I know when this happens.  I am very well aware of people’s true feelings for me.  I know I bring out the worst in some people, but that is not my choice.  I have no power over what other people think of me.  And quite frankly, as I get older and more settled into my own soul and skin, I really don’t give a damn.

Wow.  This is a rambling entry.  Not sure where it comes from.  I was smitten this morning by the photo below.  The kindness of the soldier made me think of how we can all be kind.  True kindness is doing for others without any expectation of anything in return.  Kindness is (or should be) just kindness.  Some people use it as a scorecard to get something in return, and that is misguided and can only lead to disappointment.

So I try every day to be kind.  I don’t want to be aware of kindness all the time.  I just want it to happen.  It would be nice if kindness was always received well, but sometimes it is not.  That’s okay too.  Like I said earlier, we have no power over what people do with our gifts of love, time, attention, or resources.  If we have expectations, the gift was not given freely.  We need to look at that.  At least I need to keep that on the radar for myself.  I make mistakes every day.  This is a journey, not a destination.

soldier kitty

Random acts of kindness and purposeful forgiveness.  Imagine if the world could be powered with that all of the time.  Imagine.

23 Comments

Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

23 responses to “I Try to Be Kind

  1. susanna

    I love it when people use the upset to advance themselves. It is said that we are set-up to be up-set and then the universe/God/the Higher Self, take your pick,sits back and watches how we handle it. You passed the test on that one! Thanks for sharing your process, it was a lovely teaching.

  2. joanie

    That photo made me cry. Kindness like this ALWAYS makes me cry, I think because I have many times imagined a world powered by this but I’m cynical enough to realize that in my lifetime it probably never will be. The best we can do is to make sure our own little world is, like that soldier is doing in the worst of circumstances. Thank you for a powerfully kind post today. It will make many people sit back and take stock.

  3. Well thought out entry, spur of the moment or not. Some people live for the opportunity to create pain. It’s sad but true. Some do so with instruments, whether it be knife or gun or fist. Sometimes I wonder why we criminalize one and not the other, when both are about exerting hurtful power over others.

  4. I like this subject too. As you may know I have a sister who has been quite unkind and cruel to me…particularly during Dean’s illness. I blocked her on FACEBOOK. I was thinking about writing her another letter to “explain myself again for things I didn’t do but she believes I have” but then I realized that I would only be doing that to make myself feel better. She will probably never care.

  5. bholles

    Remember the saying from Terry Cole Whitaker. What you think of me is none of my business. I love that saying.

  6. jo

    It was lovely- what happened to happily ever after?

  7. Well illustrated too.

    Yes, it is a really hard thing to do. Forever I blamed my mother for my alcoholism. One day I realized that she did as well as she could with her own alcoholism and a daughter like me. Realizing this made me able to begin the process of forgiving her then me. Life is not at all boring.

    I won’t ask what prompted this but am looking forward to dinner.

  8. The only one for whom you are responsible is yourself. (There are exceptions, of course. If you choose to unite yourself with a partner, you have agreed to share mutual responsibility for each other. If you have children, you need to be responsible; at least, you have to teach them to be responsible for themselves.)

    It took me awhile to learn that the best way to deal with caustic people is to distance yourself. It is easier online; I don’t even unfriend them, I just ignore them. I have better ways to use my energy. I know you do too.

  9. Patty O'Reilly

    Well said. Bravo.

  10. farmgirl

    this was lovely. thank you

  11. I just love you so much – if we could all be more like you the works would be a better place.

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