I really, really dislike unkindness in any form.  This includes being rude, crass, thoughtless, and self-centered. 

Years ago now, I had an online friend who went by the name Ygg, short for Yggdrasil, the sacred tree of Norse mythology.  Norse mythology aside, she was Goth.  She might have invented Goth.  Lots of black lipstick, black corsets, black crinolines, and a splendid black cape.  She was married to a heavy metal musician who did IT stuff in his spare time.  Both of them are certified geniuses on the IQ scale, good looking, extremely talented, and scary smart.  I used to joke that if they ever had a child, it would be the Messiah. 

Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

We were both members of an online fan group for the author Tom Robbins.  People who like Tom Robbins enough to go looking for a fan club know how odd the members are likely to be.  Ygg’s oddness didn’t faze me in the least.

What did faze me that time we ran around D.C. together was Ygg’s sheer kindness.  She was unfailingly polite, the consummate hostess, thoughtful, and well-intentioned to everyone she encountered from the bus driver to her husband.

I didn’t equate Goth and heavy metal with kindness.  It kind of floored me.  That’s when I made a conscious decision to try and be more kind.

Now then, with that said, I am a miserable failure, but I do try.  I think I should get points for trying.  One of the things I’ve learned, especially with interactions with strangers, is that you get so much further faster with simple kindness than just about anything else.

My boss is, hands down, the kindest person I’ve ever encountered. You know how it was the thing for a while for folks to run around with WWJD bracelets (What would Jesus Do?)  Well.  Mine is What would Laurie do?  WWLD? How would Laurie react? What would she say?  That pause to consider those things has saved me from being an ass a million times.

But it didn’t save me yesterday.  I was unkind to a tech support guy.  Many would say he deserved it.  I didn’t have a tantrum and I behaved assertively but not aggressively with only a soupcon of revenge, but I was not kind. 

I am ashamed.  I am considering calling to apologize, but I didn’t really say anything I didn’t mean.  And the guy was being an ass.  But I didn’t need to return that serve to him.  There’s a lot of noise about matching the energy of the person you’re interacting with.  I think that could be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.   What if they’re having a horrible day, are a narcissist, or are just one of those chronically unhappy people.  Who wants to match that? 

I used to be somewhat boastful about how I was slow to anger, but once engaged I could go from zero to bitch in 2.2 seconds.  What about that is there to be proud of?  Nothing.  There are instances where it is required, and dealing with healthcare in the United States is one of them for example, but I still don’t have to be unkind to the person I’m talking to.

So, I have a renewed commitment to kindness because I really, really dislike its opposite. Especially when I am the perpetrator.

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