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.