The biggest problem with kindness is that you never really know what effect it had.
This is the same problem with 'paying it forward.' You never know if someone did their three acts of paying it forward. You just never know.
In a world that is so over focused on microwave moments and instant results, it's nearly impossible to convince someone they benefit from a life of kindness. What's the benefit to me?
The benefit of doing an act of kindness is like the benefit of eating a healthy meal. You feel good, great even sometimes. This small tickling in the bottom of your heart can grow to a gentle wind which blows through your entire life.
However, just like eating a healthy meal, the amazing way you feel after eating great whole food cannot compare to the addictive buzz of a high calorie, high fat, high salt fast food extravaganza. And kindness cannot compare to the buzz of celebrity gossip, reality television or the plump attraction of too much silicone in a woman's body.
So why bother with kindness? I mean really. Why bother?
Reality television brawls are more entertaining, draws more attention, makes more money than any of this kindness crap. Why not give it up?
I think we each have to find our own reasons to be kind. For me, kindness is a part of my basic nature. Sure, growing up around schizophrenics, I learned pretty easily how one word could engender violence, rage, and disaster. But, honestly, kindness was always a part of my basic nature. Even as a young child, I couldn't comprehend school playground politics and cruelty. And, when push came to shove, when I wanted so badly to repay a life of cruelty and abuse, I could only be kind to my father in the last days of his life.
Last year, at the behest and coaching of a mentor, I spent the year focused on 'What's in it for me?' I only did things that I thought would generate the highest benefit. In his logic, why bother spending energy on things that won't guarantee your success?
Why bother. So I let go of simple things - like these Simply Kind Tuesdays, my big veggie gardens and people who didn't 'pay off'.
I have never been more overwhelmed, insecure, and unbalanced as I was last year. I honestly believe that breaking my ankle in November was a wake up call. It was time to stop all this nonsense and return to my usual self.
And my usual self is kind. It's just who I am.
Maybe it won't pay off for me.
And just maybe, living a kind life is payment enough.
Why do you bother with kindness?