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Be Kind to Others Even If It Hurts

Updated on August 21, 2014

It is a virtue to be kind but the universe does have a sense of humor. Acts of kindness can bit you in the butt. Should that stop us from being kind? No. I've learned that one of the most important things we can do in life is to be kind to others, even if it hurts. Once you learn to laugh at yourself, the rest comes easy. Kindness should come from the heart and never be attached to the expectation that it will be returned. Rest assured that it will return but in its own time..

My Favorite Quotes About Kindness

  • “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” - Dalai Lama XIV

  • “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • “Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” - Desmond Tutu

  • “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” - Mother Teresa

Don’t these quotes just make you feel better? Of course they do. They all sound beautiful and in theory, they are. Talk is cheap though and if you really think about it, it’s hard to be perfect. It’s not easy being kind in a world where hatred and evil are the things that make the headlines. True acts of kindness rarely make news but that should never deter us from trying. If fact, it should make us try harder.

The thing about being kind is that if we are doing it for personal gain, it isn’t kindness. If we are doing things for others and hoping to get recognized, it isn’t kindness. We have to let go of our attachments to any outcome other than improving the life of someone else for any act to be a genuine act of kindness.

The apartment building I lived in in 1973.  It is the centerpoint of the picture above.
The apartment building I lived in in 1973. It is the centerpoint of the picture above. | Source

My Personal Story

Earlier I said it is important to remember to laugh. That can sometimes be pretty hard, especially when you’ve done something kind and still something bad happened. This is where I prove that I know what I am talking about. It is my chance to share a personal story.

As a young adult, I had left home and married. We were as poor as dirt farmers but we were in love. At the time, affordable housing was not easy to come by unless you wanted to live in the ghetto. With little money and needing to buy a car, we called on family to help out. A relative arranged for us to rent an apartment in the historic area of town. The architecture in the area was incredible as many of the old houses were built in the early 1900’s. Archways and columns, window seats and decorative fireplaces were the attraction of these older buildings. The down-side of living in one of these old building was that most of them had turned into law offices since they were close to the courthouse and the Police station.

My husband and I were excited to have a place of our own and soon were able to buy the car we needed. It was cheap and ugly but it was new. The 1973 Honda Civic was sunflower yellow and looked like a pregnant roller skate. You could spot it from a distance.

Three months after buying the Honda, I arrived home from work one afternoon. As I pulled up in front of our apartment building, I noticed an elderly woman walking down the street in tears. She appeared fragile and distressed and I worried that she was alone. I didn’t want to interfere but I need to know that she was okay so I sat in my car and watched as she made her way to the parking lot in the next block. Once she was safely in her car, I got out of mine and went into the front of our building to get my mail. The entrance to my apartment was on the side of the building. I was only gone about two minutes but when I walked outside again, the entire neighborhood was lined with people talking in hushed tones to each other. I wondered what they were excited about. And then I saw it, the empty spot where I had parked my car.

Where was my car? I looked left and right and then, I look bewildered. From some distance away I heard a voice ask “whose car is that?”. My eyes followed the sound of the voice and I saw the trail of destruction my car had caused. As I looked at all the damaged cars on both sides of the street, I knew that if I followed the trail, my little ugly yellow Honda would be waiting at the end. And there it was, stuck in the gate of a 100 year old wrought iron fence surrounding the oldest church in the city. Oh…my….God. That’s all I could say.

The resting place for my car - the 100 year old fence.
The resting place for my car - the 100 year old fence. | Source

The Moral to the Story

There are many morals to this story.

  1. When you park on an incline, make sure the hand brake has secured the vehicle.
  2. When you leave your vehicle, turn the wheels against the curve and lock the steering wheel.
  3. When worrying about others, don’t lose sight of reality.
  4. Never park your car on a hill in a neighborhood of law offices and not properly secure the vehicle.
  5. Acts of kindness, when coupled with stupidity, will make the local news.

I had done many things right and a few things miserably wrong. It was good that I worried about that elderly woman and made sure that she made it to her car. It was not good that I had pulled my hand-brake only halfway up before I noticed her. It was worse that I had left the car in neutral. And the worst of all my acts was that I didn’t lock the steering wheel in position or turn the wheels toward the curb. My car rolled backwards in a neighborhood of lawyers in five o’clock traffic, swerving and hitting cars on both sides of the street before coming to rest, impaled on that 100 year old fence.

Remember to laugh!

Crying would not have accomplished anything and my car accident became fodder for legal jokes for years to come. The headlines in the paper made me famous, not for something kind or brilliant but for something totally stupid. I know now that it is when I honestly learned to laugh at myself and to realize that to be kind does not equate with favor or repaid kindness. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to be repaid but, it does come. I can honestly say that I have been repaid tenfold for that single act of kindness.

The story has a happy ending. Because it was a new car, my insurance covered all the damage. I made many friends among the attorneys in the neighborhood and have been the benefactor of their skills and knowledge at discounted rates on numerous occasions. My car was repaired and served me for thirteen years after the accident and, I have never once, not even for a moment, had any regret over my decision that day.

Be kind to others even if it hurts. Do it without expectation or attachment to the outcome and if you learn nothing else from my experience, remember to laugh at yourself.

Read more of my hubs here.

© 2012 Linda Crist


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