Over the past few weeks, months, years–MY WHOLE LIFE, you could say–I’ve been thinking a lot about the effect that kindness and respect has on people. I’m mostly just tired of bashing, hating, being mean, having double-standards, and treating people like they are less than you.
I grew up with a younger sister who had autism. I saw people be mean to her and it made me mad. I watched a boy in elementary school break her Skip-it on the playground and recess. I watched other kids in our neighborhood tell her she couldn’t play with them. I watched them be less blunt about it, but equally as mean. And, to be fair, I told her a lot she couldn’t play with me. As we grew up, I watched it be ok for the cool kids at the high school have Disney Princess backpacks and High School Musical backpacks. My sister loved (in fact, she still does) both of those things, but got made fun of because of it.
And it made me really angry.
I see mean people at church. I see them at work. I see them in the stores, movies, restaurants, and other public places I frequent. I see people treating nurses with disrespect. I see people talking down to their waitress at restaurants. I see kids making fun of what other kids are wearing, saying, playing with.
And I’m tired of it.
So many of the problems I see in my own life could just be solved if we were all a little nicer to each other. It’s hard. I know that. It’s hard to not fight with the internet trolls. It’s hard not to engage in the gossip at the office. It’s hard to not want to push your annoying neighbor down the stairs.
But isn’t it so much more important–in the tumultuous world (that’s my $3 word for the day) to spread a little kindness?
Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you’re a kindergartner, a high school drop-out, or a PhD. Every single person you interact with is just a person. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. They have stuff too. Have you ever sat back and thought about that? That the person who is using a million coupons at the checkstand has day-to-day struggles? That the neighbor you want to push down the stairs might just be craving a little grown-up conversation after a long day with the toddlers?
The fact of the matter is, we don’t know everyone’s stories. And, in a lot of ways, I think that’s better. It gives us all the chance to assume the best of someone, rather than maybe the nasty truth.
Everyone, it turns out, could benefit from a little kindness and a little respect. Get off your high horse and say hi. None of us are better than any others of us. We’re all brothers and sisters just trying to make it through this sometimes crappy thing we call life. And we sure don’t need anyone going out of their way to make it crappier, right?
The fact of the matter is that we could all be a little kinder (myself included). There’s no need to be judgy-mcjudgerfaces. There’s no need to be rude. There’s no need to tell ourselves stories when we perceive things didn’t go our way.
The fact of the matter is that I’m sitting here crying while I type this out. I’m tired of the meanness. The hatred. The resentment. The “jokes” that aren’t really jokes.
Just knock it off, dang it! Be kind. And nice! And respectful. I don’t know if these are real answers to any of the problems that seem to plague our society today, but they don’t seem like they’d do any harm.
I’m begging you: Just think a little bit before you act or react or judge. And be a little bit kinder to everyone. For me? Please?