Why do we say hurtful things to other people? Why do we use words that demean, belittle, and discourage? What is it that saying things negatively does for us? What are we trying to accomplish? What are we hoping will be the outcome?
Sometimes, we just want to hurt people. We are in pain and we want to see others in pain. Sometimes, we feel bad about ourselves and we think that in order to feel better, we tear someone else down…supposedly lower than ourselves. When we are threatened by someone else, it is easier if we can find a fault or an open wound and beat into those wounds.
It also sounds so harsh…so evil…so vindictive. You may be thinking that this doesn’t happen. But take a moment and observe. Watch a person that doesn’t get what he or she want at a restaurant…when it is wanted…how it is wanted. Watch what happens when one person pulls into a parking space that someone else was trying to get. Watch what happens when there is a long line to check out at the grocery store. Watch what happens when two people are sitting together and someone else’s name is mentioned and the gossip begins. Just watch…just keep your eyes open.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Bad doesn’t win. Evil doesn’t prevail. Gossip isn’t just a part of life. Anger doesn’t control us. Words don’t just slip out. Being hateful doesn’t just happen. There is another way. There is another option. And that is love and kindness.
To have love and kindness doesn’t mean you won’t ever say anything wrong or you won’t get caught up in gossip or you won’t lose your temper. What it does do is lessen the chances and opportunities.
-Love and kindness don’t participate in gossip, rumors, lies. They cannot go together. They cannot show up in the same place. If you gossip, you are not loving.
-Love and kindness allows us to see others…really see them. To “see” someone means that we don’t let what is happening in this moment define that person forever. What the person may be saying in anger to you may be because of something completely different. Your ability to offer love and kindness in these moments can completely change things.
-Love and kindness gives you the opportunity to look around for ways to give and share. So if you are waiting in line and someone behind you is struggling, you can help. If someone takes your parking space, you move on (letting that ruin your day is just ridiculous). If something is said harmful, respond in kindness. It can diffuse a situation. It won’t fix everything…but it can begin to change dynamics. You might find that there are more opportunities to be kind and to show love…continue to reach down deep.
What might it look like if you and I choose to go the other way…the way of love and kindness? What kind of difference might that make? Let’s try it and see…