The decision to be kind

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DIn pretty much every situation there are at least two roads one can take: that of kindness and the other one. Call it negligence, rudeness, hatred even, it’s the one where the other person doesn’t matter.

One of my friends recently told me that she found it satisfying that going to the shop, the cashier thought the lemon my friend was buying was a lime. There was about 25p difference between the two so my friend let her made that mistake.

It’s not a significant thing in the big picture, is it?

No, it’s not. But still, it wasn’t the right thing to do. My friend didn’t pay for that lemon. Maybe the supermarket paid for it, maybe the cashier had to. We’ll never know. But wouldn’t it have been kinder to let the cashier know she’d made a mistake and let her correct it? It’s not about the amount of money involved: it’s about the general direction of that action.

There’s always a point in time when consciously or subconsciously we make that decision at the crossroad: is it gonna be the ego or the universal good?

Being unkind never “just happens”. There always are other options. We might not wanna consider them but they’re always there. No excuse. It’s our decision. Every single time.

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18 responses »

  1. The example you provide reminds me of something my husband did a few years ago. We were making a mad dash to catch the train and thus didn’t have time to buy a ticket. Turns out there was no ticket controller that night, and I found myself thinking, “Cool, a free train ride for once.” Then my hubby decided to take the higher road. He bought two tickets when we arrived in our home town (that was an equivalent of the journey we’d just taken) and then promptly threw them away. It was a moment of pure honesty, and it made me realize that it’s the principle of being just that matters, not bumming a free something off of society.

  2. No excuse is right! How would she have felt if she’d been the cashier or store owner and someone cheated her – because that’s what it was. I believe if we could all commit to RESPECT being our underlying moral compass, then kindness and integrity and choosing to do the right thing would follow from that.

  3. Very well said…if she had bought the cheaper one and been charged for the more expensive one, then I wonder if she would still have said nothing. Wrong is wrong, and you never know who may be watching you and learning from your actions.

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  6. “…where the other person doesn’t matter” – that phrasing nails it! It seems that being “unkind” often does not happen on purpose, but when people “forget” to consider the other. I think of work places for instance: nice, friendly people, but when in meetings, some of the nice polish is gone, and the way ideas are exchanged comes across as unkind (we have a choice also in how we say things). The person doesn’t matter anymore, only the “position” in the group.
    Great post! I’m visiting in the A to Z road trip, very glad to have found your blog, will continue to explore.

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