Hoe: Cze you are fat.
Insults, rudeness, mindless name-calling throw us into an emotional spiral of anger, vile and vengeance. They get their power because they threaten our equanimity, esteem, and ego all at the same time. And for millennia, we have been terrible at handling this trifecta. The technical nomenclature for our response during this threat is fight or flight. Zero-in or chicken-out.
I can pretend I am enlightened and tell you to go buy a fat cushion and perform the extrasensory act of sending love to the person that insulted you.
Or I could call out your delusion and shatter your hopes, dreams, and value system.
Obviously, we are going with the second option.
We are all delusional about our level of kindness. We think of ourselves as hopelessly noble souls in a scrupulously shitty world. It’s why you will hear pithy conclusions like the only purpose in life is to be good.
Rudeness is a perfect prick to re-purpose this bubble of goodness.
Because kindness as we know it is a fickle idea. Most often, it only creates a holier-than-thou halo that’s both bright and annoying. Worse, it creates an expectation. Under the halo of your kindness is a head filled with expectation of how others must treat you. And it eventually becomes is self-control from the urge to be true to ourselves. This, ironically, is the highest form of unkindness.
Your kindness is a well-preserved corpse. It has no life of its own. All it wants is the attention and sympathy of looking good and genuine. You can wake someone who is asleep, but try waking someone who pretends to be asleep. Our kindness is a pretension.
Real kindness doesn’t make you feel shame. Real kindness remains unaffected by rudeness. In fact, that is when it becomes most active. Because that’s when it’s most needed. It’s easy to be a kind, beatific soul when everyone’s being kind to you, but try being a kind soul when everyone’s being a complete jackarse.
You don’t need to send ’em love and shit. Just ask them if everything’s okay. Sometimes, all people want is for someone to ask them if everything’s okay.
You are no good person. You are imperfect and angry and complex. And when you accept that, there’s hope. It’s the only way to stop you from waking up one day deciding to blow up the world. You know, because you are tired of being kind.
There’s a high probability of you stumbling on some form of unkindness every day. You can’t consonantly fight or flee from that. You live in this world, and rudeness is a part of it. More chaos is caused by people who show false kindness. At least the rude have found a real emotional outlet.
One more thing: Random acts of kindness.
As another exercise in self-improvement to convince yourself you are striving hard to become a better person by forcing yourself to do something phony and ephemeral because you can feel good about yourself and check-off some box in your midnight journal and then repeat this the next day and the next until it becomes boring and is replaced by another exercise that offers a faster way to improvement all the while escaping the fact that you need to like get some real exercise and stop shoving cheese into your cheeks — it’s pretty fine. But every other time, it’s annoying. It makes you want to perform a random act of rudeness back until you realize the kind are too stupid to even insult.
Kindness is not an antidote to rudeness. Not a path to becoming better. It’s a bi-product of love. And it is anything but a random act. It’s a deliberate act of recognizing pain, overcoming indifference and humanizing one other.
It’s an act of acceptance.