Can you give a hug and not get one in return? Actually, yes. I am a hugger. I love giving and getting hugs. Giving one gets me one at least 99% of the time. But for many reasons some people freeze if you head toward them with open arms.
I fully embrace the idea that kindness always is for you as well as another. This article looks a bit deeper into the idea that kindness is always for our benefit.
Here is her concluding paragraph:
“Arguably, none of this matters. The ends justify the means, as Machiavelli is so often misquoted as saying. And as long as we’re all talking about these causes, these issues – and putting ribbons on our avatars and badges on our blogs and marking ourselves as involved and making it a good thing to be involved – that’s all good, right? It is all good. But it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t sometimes stop and ask ourselves why we’re doing something. And maybe pause, sometimes, and make the choice that is less about us and more about the greater good, even if we could still somehow get a benefit for ourselves. To prove to ourselves that it’s not always about us and our goods and getting something for ourselves out of everything that we do.That even though we’re not selfless, we can still strive in that direction.”
The saddest people I know are those that never truly step outside of themselves and many of them want to be kind; most also manage to do what seems the kind; but their own needs often get in the way. I have watched one let her need to pinch every penny lead her to bargaining down a five year old selling his toys at a garage sale. She is a millionaire. All the ones I talk about are millionaires several times over.
Another gives much to charity, but his need to control means he often rejects worthy causes because he won’t let anyone suggest who he gives to.
Another friend is an artist and not a successful one, she donates lots of money to various organizations, but only if they agree to showcase her art. She also almost always under tips. Of the three friends, she is the most self-serving and to my mind the saddest.
Here is a quote by St. Basil of Cesaria that all should think about: “When someone steals another’s clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.”
Still, the fact remains as Hillel a famous Rabbi, whose life ended when Jesus was a child, said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am ‘I’? If not now, when?” Most simply interpreted means, this means we must be both for ourselves and for others and we must act. Hillel was also said to have said all “That which is unpleasant to you, do not to your neighbor. That is the whole law and the rest but it’s exposition.” A good reminder that giving a hug may not always be kind.
I have no problem knowing when I am kind it is my need; it is the way I have learned to feel good. I am grateful that I do it and do it for me. At the same time, I have a talent for reading other people’s feelings. Not always and not perfectly, but enough that I can spot when hugs aren’t wanted, or my effort to be kind fails. Then I try to put my need aside. I fall short in the action category in a number of areas–small areas, but in ways that hurt or disappoint others. But to be kind to myself, the balance sheet is on my side. I make amends as often as I can.
STAYING STRONG TIP
Practicing kindness as Hillel says has to start with being kind to you, but also be must directed toward others, and requires action. Little more needs to said.
The best tip, I can give involves attitude, dealing with yours and other’s failures. I wish I could remember when and where I decided “Everyone does the best they can.” Partly, I know it stemmed partly from my professional training. I also think my mothers “There but for the Grace of God go I” had something to do with it.
Not that I don’t get impatient or angry when those who could don’t share, but as soon as I cool down a bit, I remind myself. I have less, but also have enough and know in my heart I am more contented with who I am and how I live.
We all do the best we can, we need always to strive to do a bit better, but also need to forgive ourselves and those we meet.
Be kind to me, repost this if you feel it will help another, like this post or share it. You will be helping me stay strong and maybe some others as well. Click here for my free Ebook: The 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Training Exercises.
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