Sometimes, the kindest words you can say are none at all.
I met a man at the poker table tonight who possessed nearly every negative personality trait I could name (and I won’t, because I’m still trying to be kind). I was offended several times during the half hour I spent in his company. I could have called him out on his bad behavior. I could have engaged in a verbal battle. I could have tried to make him feel as little as he’d made me feel.
I bit my tongue. (Note: This would have gone very differently had there been young children or older ladies present.)
I don’t know this guy’s story (although he dropped enough hints for me to know it’s not entirely a shiny, happy one). I don’t believe that some hard knocks in life give a person the right to be ugly to others. But I also don’t believe I have the right to judge that person. I may not have agreed with his words, his tone of voice, or his behavior, but it was not my place try to change him, especially since no one was getting hurt. I didn’t see how an attempt to smooth my ruffled feathers by opening my mouth was worth the risk of adding more to whatever burden he was already carrying.
I’m not sure how many people would consider my non-action tonight an act of kindness. However, I truly believe that if more of us kept our mouths shut more often, as a whole we’d eventually become less defensive, less argumentative, less confrontational, possibly even less physically violent. Kindness would ultimately fill the void. I’m willing to do my part toward that end goal…are you?
In an attempt to overwrite all the negative feelings I have about April, I have made a pledge to complete 26 random acts of kindness this month. Reporting on these acts is the theme of my participation in this year’s April A to Z Challenge. If what you read here inspires you to commit your own RAoKs this month, please share what you’ve done in the comments. Together, we can rewrite April’s legacy!
If you’d like to check out how some other bloggers are responding to the A to Z Challenge, click here. Beware, there are 2127 participants at the time of this posting…I accept no responsibility for the hours you are likely to lose once you start browsing! 🙂
April 12, 2014 at 2:08 AM
Kudos. How he acts is his to own. How you react is yours. I agree. You did the right thing.
April 12, 2014 at 11:27 AM
Amen to that!
April 12, 2014 at 7:14 PM
Brilliant. I think sometimes not saying anything is an act of kindness. I love how you pointed out that it was not your job to judge this guy or try to change him. It’s hard sometimes though, isn’t it? To bite your tongue? Easier said than done especially when you are being provoked.
April 19, 2014 at 6:14 PM
It is hard to bite my tongue sometimes, but rarely do I regret it, and I think if I had chosen to engage in certain circumstances I would have had regrets. It’s all about choosing my battles. I would feel the need to say something in someone’s defense, but if it’s only my pride getting massacred, I can step back.