I write about this often even though I sometimes fail at following my own advice. I was talking about this theme of kindness (and suffering) with a dear friend today, in a serious conversation that seemed to cover a lot of ground but circled around this idea that we can never know what others are suffering.
We’ve all heard a variation of the quote often attributed to Plato, that we should be kind because everyone is fighting their own hard battle. True enough. It reminded me of this video I saw some time ago:
I wonder what a little bit of civility would do for people. A smile. A gentle word.
The extraordinary act of making eye contact. I figure it can go a long way.
I have this quotation scrawled across the top of my gradebook as a reminder:
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting their own hard battle.”
It’s one of my favorite quotes, sometimes attributed to Plato, sometimes to Seneca, possibly correctly attributed to Ian Maclaren. Let me just say, who cares? I know, my English teacher sensibilities just imploded — it happens.
I like it because it’s a simple message. Be kind.
Be kind because you don’t know how the person you’re interacting with needs a kind word. A smile. A gentle touch.
Because most of us face our battles quietly; it doesn’t matter if we do so out of bravery, or stoic strength, or possibly even shame. The bottom line is that we all face battles.
I’d venture to say that those combative souls we encounter need the most kindness. Just a thought.
Love on purpose. Encourage intentionally.