Sometimes, a commitment to everyone around you being ok can cause more suffering than you know.
You might think you’re just being kind, principled – a person committed to harmony, peace, and the wellbeing of others.
But it’s not kindness if your habit of saving others from their difficulty:
denies them their dignity or freedom
hurts the people around them
has them become dependent upon you
acts so that you, principally, can feel better about yourself.
It’s not kindness to insist all is well, that everyone look on the bright side, and in doing so ignore others’ difficulty or judge it as moaning or whining.
And it’s not kindness to turn away from important conversations that can liberate people from their suffering, simply because you fear that you or others might get upset.
Kindness like this might still feel like kindness to you. It might feed the story that you’re really there to help. But what you’re doing each time is covering up the difficulty. And in each case there’s some significant suffering that calls for a much bigger contribution from you.
Kindness that makes a genuine difference to others requires enormous courage, because it can never just be about fulfilling your story about yourself, or making you feel better that you did the right thing.
This kindness knows when to wait as well as when to act. It knows that cutting the bonds that hold others in their difficulty can require fierceness and sharpness as well as softness. It has a much bigger perspective than just this moment, just this incident, just what you’re feeling right now.
And this sort of kindness – which looks long into the future to assess the consequences of its actions, and which casts a broad net to include many others in its care – has so much more possibility for bringing about the peace and freedom you really long to bring into the world.