Why Kindness is Hard

I wrote last week about how important I think kindness is. And about how its truest form is a positve action rather than the mere absence of negative actions. That, and a few other things I’ve seen lately has lead me to get thinking a little bit about why this thing called kindness that we almost all agree is important is so hard to do.

Part of why kindness is hard is just the intractable and inevitable gap between what we wish we would do and the reality of what we do. No matter how much we think in idle time “I should do it like this” we’re always coming face to face with the fact that the way we typically do things is different than our ideals.

But I think there are more subtle and specific qualities of kindness that contribute to the problem. I intend to spend some time thinking and writing about them in the coming weeks.

To get the series started, here are some of the reasons that I’ve come up with:

I’ll write about each of those bullet points, one per week. If I find more they’re going on the list. I feel pretty confident I’ll learn something from the exercise, and I hope you’ll accompany me.

2 responses to “Why Kindness is Hard”

  1. […] Retrospectively I’d guess that it was safer for me, and my self image, to disregard people who might later shun me than to hope for something from them and not get it. It’s not the worst imaginable coping mechanism, but I don’t recommend it. This personal bubble with sharp boundaries, learned after years of training, is one of the primary reasons that I find kindness to be difficult. […]

  2. […] Kindness is hard. And it is fundamentally about vulnerability. About laying yourself open, if only the smallest bit, so that someone else can accept that opening. Kindness is about saying things people may read as weak, or stupid, or weird. About doing things without any guarantee you’ll receive anything in return. You simply cannot do those things while you’re scared of being vulnerable. […]