Be Kind, For Everyone is fighting a hard battle.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” 

― Socrates

Being Kind Can Be Tough

It’s so easy to be rude. 

It doesn’t take any effort. Especially when you feel like someone has wronged you. 

But these are just your emotions taking control. When someone is being short or nasty with you, the easiest thing in the world is to send it right back at them. Anyone can do that.

What’s difficult is keeping your composure. Sticking to your standards and not letting their negativity bring you down. Because it’s tough to resist stooping to their level. That’s difficult, and not everybody can do it. It takes practice and patience. And that’s impressive.

Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”

Aristotle

Self-Control

You don’t want to be the person that’s always looking to fight. Being so consumed by rage that you lose control is nothing to be proud of. It’s a weakness that can be used against you. What’s far more impressive is having a level of emotional control that allows you to stay cool, calm, and collected; especially when everyone else is losing their minds. That’s a sign of true strength.

Falling victim to your anger is easy. Practicing compassion and forgiveness is difficult. It requires you to be the bigger person. 

When you have the perfect excuse to retaliate but you choose not to. That’s control. 

The excuse is a temptation. Use it as a test. 

Re-frame the Situation

Photo by me

One way I’ve found that has helped me deal with tough situations is to re-frame them as tests. Struggles and hardships are simply a part of life. Joy couldn’t exist if it wasn’t for pain. But when we re-frame our pain into opportunities to learn and to grow, it gives meaning to that which can otherwise feel meaningless. 

Another trick that I use is called Hanlon’s Razor. It’s a philosophical razor that says do not assume malice when it can just as easily be stupidity. When you interpret something as malicious, it’s only natural to become angry. If you tell yourself that it was an accident, suddenly it’s much easier to deal with. Try it! You won’t be as emotional and can handle it better. 

Sometimes I pass these tests and sometimes I fail. But this trick has made a world of difference when it comes to dealing with adversity and difficult situations.

Accountability

There is a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s one of my favorite books and I would highly recommend it. One of the four agreements is to be impeccable with your word. This book helped me to realize how much power my words can have. He likens negative words to a poison that can infect your target and have second-order effects. Reading that book changed my entire perspective.

Because when I was younger, I didn’t care about what I said. I just didn’t realize the power that my words could have. Online gaming was the perfect example; if someone wanted to trash talk me, I’d be right there with them – ready and willing. 

In my defense, this was 10 or 15 years ago when trash-talking was even more rampant in gaming culture than it is today. Ingrained in such a way that it was impossible to stay away from at a certain point. It can still be bad these days, but back then it was like the wild west of trash talk. There were no rules.

I still like to play some video games and I still run into people like this a decent amount. These days I don’t worry myself with defending myself or even responding most of the time. There will always be trolls, the test is how you choose to deal with them. I choose not to care. I talk and communicate with most of my teammates but when I run into a troll, I can quite easily ignore them. 

I mute them and move on. Life’s too short to spend arguing with people with bad intentions. I take pride in being able to refrain from responding and I take solace in knowing that I’m not adding to the problem.

Just be Kind

I know that it can be hard sometimes. I know that not everybody is deserving of kindness. And I know that the world is a complicated place and that every situation is uniquely messy. Being kind isn’t always easy and it won’t always happen. Accept that for what it is and do your best. 

Everybody makes mistakes. But not everybody acknowledges their mistakes and tries to learn from them. 

Acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them, and strive to be better.

Also, just be kind.

Treat everyone with politeness and kindness, not because they are nice, but because you are.”

― Roy T. Bennett

26 comments

  1. It is easy to take rudeness very personally. But try to remember another person’s behavior often has more to do with what’s going on inside of them, and very little to do with you. Great post-!

  2. You touched on some of the most necessary things for personal happiness and growth. Well done. I especially liked the idea of looking at difficulties as opportunities for growth, treating inevitable hardships as parts of a game. I think I’ll try it—thank you!

  3. Some of the words I love the most from Brené Brown: “I know my life is better when I assume everyone is doing their best.”

    The best for you is not the same as it is for me, and this may be different every day. But if we encourage rather than disparage we can only help to create a better world where we want to live and work together.

    Peace, my friend. Thank you for these oh so important words, especially in our world right now.

    1. You’re very welcome, Hamish.

      I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my work. It’s always refreshing to hear from someone who shares similar goals and is striving to help make the world a better place.

      Thank you for that, the kind words, and the encouragement! 🙂

  4. Excellent post! You are so right about self-control. Controlling your emotions, especially anger is so important. It reminds me of a proverb that says, “The one slow to anger is better than a mighty man, And the one controlling his temper than one conquering a city.” (Proverbs 16:32)
    Being kind may take a little extra effort but it’s worth it. Thanks for these reminders.

  5. Evan, This post should be required reading. These times are so charged, locked and loaded that everyone is ready to unload on everyone else for looking crosseyed. Relax, the title says it all; that everyone is doing the best he can and is fighting some battle. Even those who may seem otherwise, likely have some underlying reason and who are we to know what it is?

    1. Thank you so much, Annie! I really appreciate that. 🙂

      And I completely agree. We never know what’s going on behind the scenes. Funny thing too – the people who deserve it the least, need it the most!

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