“The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self.” – Albert Einstein
If you are not practicing kindness then you are not a kind person. You simply cannot be kind only on some days and not on others, or be kind only to some people. Doing so just makes you a person who happens to do some kind acts. If you are a kind person then you practice kindness daily with everyone – including your coworkers and family members. America needs this level of kindness. I’m talking about a lifestyle of kindness as opposed to an occasional kind act. A kind person by definition routinely lives out their kindness. This is the meaning of kindness at all times.
This may require some sacrifice. This may require giving up comfort, foregoing one’s own desires at times, and thinking more of others. This may require rejecting the myriad voices of discord and division in our culture. This may require refusing to speak ill of others – even if it may seem warranted. As noted before, I do make an occasional exception for politicians who actively work to divide Americans one from another and for members of violent groups such as Al Qaeda and members of certified hate groups such as the KKK and the misnamed ‘Family Research Council’ – such organizations are not acting as individuals and are actively creating division and harm in society. What my “Number One Rule” means is that I never say anything negative about an individual – even if it may be true. A lifestyle of kindness necessarily requires the practice of grace towards others – forgiving them when they hurt us, refusing to criticize others personally, politely leaving conversations when others start gossiping or badmouthing others – I simply excuse myself saying I have to leave – without specifying why. Kindness at all times means loving and accepting others even when we do not like or agree with them. Kindness does not impose one’s own views on others, does not insist that others believe as we do, does not feel a need to let others know if we do not like their politics, their religion, or their sexual orientation (and of course, we will not change any of these things anyway). This does not mean we never discuss these things, but that we do so only when it is appropriate, when it is welcome, and when our words will be kind. For some reason, the old adage that one never discusses politics, religion or money seems to have fallen out of favor in modern America. At one time it was considered impolite to bring up such personal and emotionally charged subjects in casual conversation – there was a reason for this belief. Perhaps we need to bring the practice of avoiding such subjects back.