Teaching Kindness

Who has ever been taught how to be kind? Who taught you what kindness looks like? Who taught you what it feels like? Who have we been taught to be kind to? How have we been taught to be kind—by explanation or by example? What were you taught about why we should be kind? Were you taught anything about kindness at all, or were you simply told to be kind without knowing what it meant? How do you teach kindness now?

I took off from work today to act be an “emotional support sibling” for my youngest sister. I can’t say why (it’s not my story to tell) but I will say that I enjoy the hell out of helping her whenever I can.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way every (or at least a vast majority) of our acts of kindness come tinged with self-interest. I used to feel bad about it but, hell, if helping someone else makes me feel good too isn’t that just twice the reason why we should be kind? Knowing this, accepting this, has not only made compassion feel even better but has freed me from the pressure to always put myself first.

Helping others is putting myself first.