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Tag: kindness

The Failures of Kindness

“The failures of kindness” was a phrase that was coined by George Saunders when he gave the convocation speech at Syracuse University in 2013. That phrase resonated with me and allowed me to think about my own personal failures of kindness in my upbringing. If you have not heard the speech yet, I really encourage you to do so at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHNvvL-40mY

There have been many failures of kindness in my life where I had the chance to speak up and do something but I made the conscious choice to ignore it. I chose to not feel strongly about it at the time but looking back, I end up regretting not doing anything. In high school, there was one particular failure of kindness that to this day, I wish I made more of an impact in this one person’s life.

The year was 2004 and I was a freshman in high school who was still closeted about my sexuality. I never felt the pressure or need to come out but I also didn’t have any inclinations to hide who I was either. It was just never a big deal to me. However a new junior/senior student had enrolled in my high school and after seeing him in the hallway from time to time, I just had a gut instinct that he was gay. And I was right. He was open about it and knew who he was. However from my perspective, he looked troubled to me. It always looked like there was a lot going on in his life and he was so quiet. Maybe it was because I was a freshman but I never really got to talk to him even though innately, I wanted to be friends with him and share that common bond between us. He didn’t seem to be very social with his classmates and I wonder to myself if people were ignoring him because of his sexuality, since at the time, being gay was very taboo.

The student didn’t reach out to others and it appeared he lived a life where he went to school and went straight home and be out of that environment as quickly as he could. I think the reason that this has affected me so much was here he was, a role model that has been open about his sexuality and me, who was still hiding in the shadows, not being able to open up to him and understand the difficult position he is in. I didn’t take a chance on him and say “I respect you for who you are and I admire your courage.” If I had the amount of confidence I had now, I feel like our connection and life could have been really different.

The reason I think about these failures of kindness is due to the recent string of violent acts that have been happening on school campuses around the country. It breaks my heart to see innocent men and women fall victim to the actions of a single individual who would be able to commit such atrocities. From a outsider’s perspective, I am always intrigued by the processes that goes on in the perpetrator’s mind and the exact moment that made them click, to finally decide that their course of action was the right one. What is the thrill behind these action and is the emotional suffering of a mass group of people worth it in their eyes?

All of these crimes and acts of violence always get me thinking about the “what ifs” in life and the things that we as a human race could have done to prevent such an act from occurring. It connects back to failures of kindness that we as humans encounter every single day. What if someone had reached out to the young man in the Isla Vista shooting and did an act of kindness that he never expected? Would things could have gone differently or was he doomed from the start?

The main point is that we will have moments in our lives where we can truly be kind and we need to make a conscious decision to act upon it. Our decision can shape that person’s day and perhaps their life and affect the future for the better. Don’t be like me and ponder about the regret about what could have been a meaningful moment.

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Daily Prompt – Kindness in a Stat

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/daily-prompt-connection/

Date: 7/22/13
Prompt: Go to your Stats page and check your top 3-5 posts. Why do you think they’ve been successful? Find the connection between them, and write about it.

Answer: I consider myself a sporadic writer. I post when I feel like it and usually when I do, I need a prompt to get me by. My mind doesn’t seem to function in a way where I create my own ideas or topics. I need some motivation. The post that garnered the most feedback and was the most successful was a daily prompt describing a moment of kindness between another individual and me.

I think people are drawn to very happy topics or inspirational messages. For me, when I scour the web for blogs, I like to read about people who done incredible things or a gesture that really stands out. It makes me feel good about the human race and I think for most readers, they want to get away from their chaotic lives and just enjoy the kindness of humans. The post I made describes the instance where I bought a homeless man food from a mediterranean fast food joint and how I felt guilty for revealing it. Moments of kindness or gestures are only sincere is if you keep them for yourselves. However, it was really sweet for commenters to point out that it’s okay to share about one’s experiences and that it can be healthy. It’s not insincere or portray you to be a person craving attention, so one shouldn’t think like that.

But based on how well that post did, I have to consider speaking more about my experiences in the realm of kindness and make sure that the kindness spreads throughout the online blogging world.

🙂

Daily Prompt – Kindness in a Meal

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/daily-prompt-kindness/

Date: 6/20/13
Prompt: Describe a moment of kindness, between you and someone else — loved one or complete stranger.

Answer: I strongly believe in the conception of karma. What you put out into this world, how you act, how you behave; think; react to other individuals will reflect and/or affect you in the future. That said, my fear of retaliation from the universe keeps me on my toes and I consciously am aware of trying to be kind in every situation I encounter.

Honestly, I’m sitting here grappling with the question because I’ve always been taught that if you perform an act of kindness, you keep it to yourself. Why let the world know and in this case, the internet, of what you have done? What is it that you are truly seeking; glory, bragging rights, a pat on the back? Initially I found the question ironic but after reading it again, I realized that my selfish mind immediately thought about how I was kind to others as opposed to how others was kind to me. I may as well explain it because it was something I was truly proud of.

My moment of kindness occurred when I was hungry for Mediterranean food. I wanted a falafel badly. Ever since moving to LA about 3-4 years ago, my friends have always openly discussed trying out Zankou Chicken. I always ignored it mainly because there was never a store close by or I wasn’t in the mood for it whenever I did cross it. However after work one night and on my way to the dodgeball court, I stopped by a newly built Zankou on Sunset. After getting out of my car, a homeless man approaches me and asks for money. I don’t know remember every detail that was going on in my head at that time but I clearly remember thinking about how my friends would refuse to give homeless people money, in fear of them buying drugs with it and that they offered to buy food instead. Without hesitation, I asked the homeless man if he was hungry and he said yes. I told him I would buy his dinner and brought him inside. I’m not going to lie and say I’m a saint because I did feel awkward about standing in line and trying to make small talk with someone I don’t really know very well. However we got to the register and he ordered his food, I paid for it separately, and he gave me his thanks and I acknowledged. It really did feel nice to help him out because he said I made his day. I kept it to myself for a day or so before telling my mom, who didn’t really comment on it. But it really does feel good telling you guys. Thanks for listening.

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