“Always be kind.”
I call bullsh*t.
It’s impossible to always be kind if you live in the world, conduct business, and interact with people who do things that are not ok, not nice, and/or attempt to bully, harass, or cause harm to you or the people you love.
I strive to be kind, respectful and generous, but I have a “no tolerance” policy for those who do not treat me with the same kindness and respect, or who take from my generosity without an ounce of reciprocity and appreciation.
This is where I draw the line, and I enter into “no more mister nice guy,” mode.
My mantra: Be kind until it is warranted to be an asshole.
If someone has a weapon and they are going to hurt me; I am not going to let them. I’m going to defend myself out of human instinct and self-preservation.
I’m not referring to an encounter with an underpaid, overworked, exhausted cashier with a bitchy attitude. I’m talking about the people in our lives, who think it is ok to use us as a doormat, and punching bag upon which they unleash their fury of pain and suffering.
This is where my kindness ends and my asshole begins; it’s where I stand up for myself. Kowtowing is not kindness in action—it is an act of cowardice.
Avoiding conflict is avoiding the crux of life. Sometimes, we have to draw our sword.
The key is knowing when to draw and use it, and when to keep it in its scabbard.
If we are living authentically, as the guards of our beings; we are going to have enemies. We are not going to be liked by everyone. At times, we will need to fight back. We are going to have to say no, and set strong, impenetrable boundaries.
At some point, we must construct a moat around the castle of our hearts and livelihoods, and not hesitate to strike when we are being attacked.
Sometimes not being kind to others who are not being kind to us is the kindest thing we can do for ourselves.