Tuesday, February 24, 2009

kindness = weakness

my initial inclination is kindness. i see a smiling face and it makes me want to smile. i see a sad face and i wonder what upset the person. i see an angry face or gesture and i wonder how to fix it. i don't usually wear that on my sleeve, however.

what i wear on my sleeve is caution. i usually wait for some sort of kind gesture from another person before i show kindness myself. it's a protective mechanism and it can make for a lonely, pathetic existence. being in the audience instead of in the race sunday, i was able to let myself be the kind, thoughtful person that i want to be several times. to say that it felt good is an understatement. it felt great, and very natural. i felt more worth while than racing makes me feel.

so what would cause a person to not show kindness and love toward others? the world has a way about it. it has a way of turning kind gestures into opportunities for personal gain. it has a way of taking advantage of kindness. it turns kindness into weakness.

this is not an original thought. someone i know used to say this to me on occasion and i thought it was a way of speaking that just justified weakness. years on, i can't believe how true his statements were.

why post this now, or talk about it? it's been coming on for a few years now. having kids and a family and a career minded job makes a person care a lot. and not only about the kids and family and job. having a lot to care about seems to flip a switch that opens the mind to others and their struggles and their feelings. at least it has for me.

i have felt the problems associated with showing kindness. it is euphemistic to say that it feels unpleasant to be considered weak and to be taken advantage of. i have felt it more in the past few years than in my entire life, mostly because i feel that i have exhibited kindness more than in my entire life. i think it adds up. more kindness means that there are more opportunities for people to mistake it for weakness and attempt to exploit that.

a pity party? woe is me? no, quite the contrary. being taken advantage of makes a person harder, makes the facade of not caring a little tougher. and that, in turn, makes it harder and tougher to go with my first inclination.


Mark EWERS said...

Caution is imperative, wise even; but kindness wins all ties. Otherwise you miss too many of the good things in life. And besides, would you even want to be otherwise? Could you be happy that way?

Anonymous said...

Yep, kids and family and responsibilities do that - at least to the better they do. I've got 10 years on you and still feel like I'm not finished growing up - constantly working on it seems to be the goal, rather than actually getting there.

You're a good man, TK!

Anonymous said...

I don't know you but I read your blog a lot. I read your blog because you seem like a nice, normal guy who's built a great life that includes cycling (which I also do).
Stay true to yourself and continue to be kind. Don't let the world beat it out of you.
“I understand now that the vulnerability I've always felt is the greatest strength a person can have. You can't experience life without feeling life. What I've learned is that being vulnerable to somebody you love is not a weakness, it's a strength.”