Let’s get something cleared up real quick for everyone. Kindness and weakness…they aren’t friends.
Kindness and weakness do not get along.
Those two have been throwing poop at each other in the metaphorical sandpit of life since the beginning of time.
And yet somehow…people seem to mistake the two for not only friends but inseparable lovers. Like some kind of terrible sex game gone wrong where neither party had the guts to front up to the doctors office to get themselves surgically dis-joined.
Somehow…these mutually exclusive concepts have found themselves woven into a perpetual marriage inside of our minds.
I can hear your internal monologue now.
“What is this woman talking about. Kindness is weakness.”
How’s that new Halsey song go?
Cause kindness is weakness, or worse, your complacent.Halsey, Nightmare
You hear that? That’s the sound of a loud, obnoxious game show buzzer telling you you’re wrong.
Up until about four or five years ago I kept finding myself in manipulative situations where I was taken advantage of by people I thought were my friends.
I would trap myself in the same nets by following the same path over and over again.
- “I’m a bad person and I deserve this situation I’ve found myself in.”
- “My friends are just going through a really hard time at the moment, they don’t mean to hurt me.”
- “They’re not treating me that badly, a lot of other people have it a lot worse.”
- “Other people just don’t understand my friends like I do. They don’t know the full story.”
- “It wouldn’t be kind if I left my friends now…they need my help.”
- “If I stand up for myself right now, I will hurt their feelings and that wouldn’t be kind.”
All the while, my real friends were smacking their heads against the wall trying to understand why I wasn’t cutting these terrible influences loose from my life.
My real friends simply couldn’t fathom why I was investing more time into these awful people who were treating me like crap and neglecting my real friends.
You might be asking the same question. Well it’s a good thing I have an answer for you.
I was trying to be kind. I wanted so badly to leave all my mistakes and bad decisions behind me that I was willing to be a doormat if it meant being kinder.
Now…why the hell am I prattling about this now? It probably seems like a whole lot of useless information about my life that you really didn’t need to know.
Well, it’s a good thing you’re still reading because I am about to get to the point.
Let me save you a lot of time and tell you exactly what I learnt between now and then. Because I am not exaggerating when I say…this information set me free.
There is nothing kind about silence. Kindness is not standing idly by. Kindness is not letting people walk all over you. That is passivity. That is weakness. Kindness is not weakness. Infact, true kindness takes an enormous amount of strength.
Let me break it down for you into normal human speak.
Now I don’t want to sound like a preachy shit…but there’s every chance that in the next few paragraphs I will.
I apologise in advance for that.
1. Sometimes you need to be kind to yourself
If there’s one thing that I’ve noticed recently…it’s how often people talk about being kind to one another but not kind to themselves.
Everyone deserves love and kindness and that includes yourself.
So, when someone is treating you like a doormat and taking advantage of you…it’s totally okay to tell that person goodbye.
Now, I’m not suggesting you talk shit about their mum, insult their appearance and imply they have no redeeming qualities whatsoever…because I think we can all agree that would be overkill.
You can still be assertive and firm with these people though.
A short – “Oih, ya disrespecting me and I don’t fuck with it. Jog on until you sort your tits out” will certainly suffice.
Something that will eternally get my tits fired up is when people try to make me feel bad for having a normal human reaction when someone is deliberately unkind or manipulative towards me.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m not going to be unkind or manipulative back.
I am not going to throw caution to the winds and pull them over the coals whenever I feel like it just to remind them they made a mistake.
Because I’m sure we can all agree…that would make me one hell of a piece of work myself.
However, when someone crosses a line or does something to deliberately to cause me distress or pain…I will make no apologies for making it damn clear that will not fly with me.
You can call me a bitch for that if you like but I simply like to think of it as being the strong, assertive woman that I am at my core.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my (almost) 23 years in this world it’s that if I don’t want to be kind to myself then I give everyone else a licence not to be as well.
Ponder on that for a moment before you jump along to my next point.
2. When you put yourself first…you are inadvertently putting others first as well
Now…before you assume where I’m going with that statement just slow down and keep reading.
I would put money on it that I am not about to say what you think I am.
So, strap in.
When someone steps on you, manipulate you, treats you like garbage…and you let them get away with it…you are sending them a message that their actions are okay.
And in case there was any question about that…let me clear that up for you.
When you stand idly by when people are unkind to you or unkind to people around you, you are reinforcing the narrative in their mind that their actions are okay.
Which again…their actions are not okay.
Even if they’re going through a hard time or you don’t think people understand them as well as you…there is still no reason for you to be manipulated, disrespected or taken advantage of.
If people in your life are treating you this way then they’ve probably gotten away with it before and they’ll probably try to get away with it again.
It’s not kind to let them think that their actions are okay or that they will be able to get away with that behaviour forever.
It’s definitely not kind to other people who have to put up with the same behaviour from the manipulators and liars you don’t call into question.
Standing idly by doesn’t just send the message to the person behaving badly that it’s okay to do this dumb shit, it sends the message to everyone watching that you think it’s okay too.
So when I say kindness takes strength, I really mean it because sometimes it means looking at someone you really care about and saying – enough is enough.
3. I’m not saying the people in your life are evil
I don’t want you to misunderstand me when you read this post.
If anyone knows that people are not the mistakes they make – it’s me.
I am a shining example of how people can grow and change. I simply do not recognise the person I was six or seven years ago. Not only do I not like the person I was…I simply don’t know them.
However, in order for me to get from there to where I am…people that I loved and respected had to pull me aside and tell me that I was being a complete twit.
I didn’t take it too well at first – as I am sure you can imagine…but with time and a lot of hard work I turned my shit around.
Perhaps one of the most important phone calls I have ever received in my life was from one of my closest friends telling me that if I didn’t pull my shit together…they didn’t want to associate with me anymore.
They weren’t judgmental, or vindictive or unkind. They were simply honest about where the line was and the fact that I had crossed it.
In all honesty…I’m not sure I would be who I am today if they had not made that phone call.
Sometimes being kind means telling people that their actions are not welcome in your life.
After all, if you don’t tell them how are they ever going to know?
Preachy. I know. I did warn you that might happen.
Good news though.
We have reached the fourth and final reason that kindness and weakness are not friends.
4. Sometimes kindness means going against majority rules
One of the worst things we are doing at the moment, especially on social media, is crucifying people for a single mistake.
People tend to very quickly jump on the bandwagon to ‘cancel’ someone because of a joke they made four, five, six years ago.
It’s not cool and it’s not kind.
It comes from some scary, moral superiority where people stand atop their high horses and act as though they’ve never made a mistake in their life.
It happens more and more and more.
Kevin Hart. Logan Paul. Jeffree Star. Even Shane Dawson.
To stand up against that onslaught of “you’re canceled” and “boycott such and such”…and publicly defend people’s right to not be perfect can be very daunting.
Everyone makes mistakes and some are significantly worse than others.
The world is very quick to make a snap judgement about a situation they don’t know a lot about and a person they’ve never met.
It’s toxic and it seriously hinders that person’s chance to grow from their mistakes.
Anyone who stand up in a situation like that, or similar, and publicly gives someone the benefit of the doubt is simultaneously kind and unnervingly strong.
That takes back bone and strength of character.
It is the ultimate form of kindness. To accept someone flaws and publicly create a space for them to grow at risk to your own public image…how can you call that anything other than kind?
Sending respect to anyone who ever has or ever will do something like that for someone else.
As always…be kind, my loves.