Kindness – the quality of being gentle, caring and helpful
This is a post to make you think, all of the questions are rhetorical, but I would love to hear your opinions.
Since living here, as some of you may know, we have experienced many people who have turned out to be (how shall I say it given the topic?) not very nice. They have taken advantage of any kindness we have shown them, any empathy that we have felt and, given their nature, most often than not totally abused our conscientiousness. In fact as I have researched this post I have struggled to find a quote that I can use for kindness.
So it makes me wonder if the bastards are starting to beat me!
Over the past few months or so I have been thinking often if there are there times when we can be too kind? I believe that all things are lessons in life and that because I am naturally kind life is trying to tell me that I need to protect myself sometimes and not always give people the benefit of the doubt; it has made me wonder – When do we stop being kind?
I have often had it said to me that people mistake my kindness for a weakness. Is that them? Or is it me?
I think that it may well be them and that their need and to feel superior, and to use people and abuse their kindness is because they are ultimately insecure in themselves or in their lives.
So this brings me onto Empathy.
As some of you may know I had an incredibly stressful job back in the UK. My job was with the NHS, the National Health Service, and main provider of health in the UK. The main part of my role was to oversee all of the feedback that came into the organisations that I worked for and to improve service from that feedback. But ultimately it was to deal with complaints and concerns that came into the organisations.
Now I have a strong sense of empathy, I cry when I see other’s predicaments, my heart goes out to people and I have always, from a young age, been able to see that ‘There, but for the grace of God, go I.’ But there is a problem with having a strong sense of empathy and that is that other’s can abuse that, and eventually transfer their problem on to you and believe that you are the one either responsible for it, or solely responsible for sorting it out. Had I known then what I know now perhaps I would not have had a breakdown….
‘Empathetic Reactivity – When too much empathy is bad. With empathy, you will feel their stress, anxiety, and anger in your body. You might feel their pain emotionally and physically. … Taking on other people’s feelings so that youlive their experience can make you susceptible to feelings of depression or hopelessness’
Now clearly I did not learn, and since coming over here I have continued to be taught the lesson because I did not learn. There have been the lonely people, who at times were completely and utterly rude to me; but would then cry and say how lonely they were and I would go back to visit them, even though there behaviour had been bad. In fact there have been a lot of lonely people who I have had empathy with and been kind to who have then been rude to me. Perhaps now I can see why they are so fucking lonely!!
I have had negative people who, only when I have stepped away from them have I seen how negative they were. I continued to be kind to them but can only see now that they too were negative because often people stepped away from them, thereby making them lonely – there seems to be a pattern here!!
That then makes me ask the question can we be too conscientious?
The definition for consienciousness is ‘governed by conscience, to do something according to one’s inners sense of what is right – to be principled.’
Now here lies the problem- What happens when the people you encounter don’t have any principles or conscience? Or when they do they are selfish principles where their consience will always put them first? So here you will be, with your kind empathetic principles or conscience; and there they will be with their selfish, or bigoted principles or conscience, and who do you think will end up being taken advantage of?
I have come to realise that, through my lessons since moving here, I should remember that not everyone’s conscience considers others first; and that an awful lot of people will not take the painful course.
Add to the mix out here the ‘Have’s’ and ‘Have nots’ – the people who have money and those who, like Rich and I, live hand to mouth each day. that then makes it very difficult; because often the ‘Have’s’ more often than not, sadly, don’t have any empathy and they sure don’t have an ounce of consciousness so they take advantage of people – I am not just talking about Rich and I now because I written of this often in this blog (see ‘It’s time someone said it’ or When do you stay quiet?’) of how people have been exploited over here.
You may have guessed that I have mulled this question over a lot over the last month, and considered life’s message and this is my conclusion:
Yes, you can be too kind. But.. I believe that you should be kind first and then see the reaction and consider it and if the other person is not kind to you don’t continue to be kind, but importantly don’t be unkind either, just step away.
More importantly always you consider yourself when being kind, do not do it to the detriment of yourself.
With regard to empathy – Yes I totally believe that you can have too much empathy. But I don’t want to lose that ability, I don’t want to be sucked into the dark side, so I have come to the conclusion that sometimes I need to reign myself in. I cannot give my all and I should not try.
With regard to conscientiousness that is easy for me, I will always be conscientious to others, because that is my prinicple, do unto others as they would do unto you. But that is a double edged sword because what do you do when they do bad things to you?! For me I will not necessarily do them back (again I don’t want to be sucked into the darkness) but I will step away. I don’t need that shit in my life anymore!
So everyone what do you think? Is there such a thing as being too kind, and what happens if we all stop being kind just because of the ‘Haters’?
Here’s what Mother Theresa had to say, and I think she is right….
I love giving you something to think about at the weekend!!