Finding Kindness in the Darkest Corners of Life

I want to share Finding Kindness in this blog’s Darkest Corners of Life.

I want to start a piece on kindness with a different perspective. Rather than beginning with the heart-warming aspects, it starts with the darker facets of human behaviour. Be prepared; reading might be challenging, but it’s a perspective that must be articulated more often.

Recently, I stumbled upon a talk by Jordan Peterson on the “Diary of a CEO”. I make it a habit to engage with differing viewpoints; more on that later. Peterson discussed the arduous journey of overcoming the most challenging childhood traumas, describing it as a descent into the darkest corners of humanity. He stressed the importance of understanding good and evil early on by navigating hell’s topography. His words resonated deeply with me because they mirrored my own experiences, and it’s a journey shared by many, as highlighted in a heartbreaking documentary by Nicky Campbell on Panorama lately. Hence, it’s been on my mind….

So, how do you build a sense of kindness from here? Many have attempted to answer this question in various ways, but I won’t delve into theory. Instead, I’ll share some personal reflections on specific aspects of this journey.

The walk-through hell is long and initially full of mistrust for humanity. Thus, in those early stages, kindness often manifests as stability, honesty, and structure. Before I can perceive someone as kind, I must see them as consistent. This idea has been akin to the foundation of my life, like a thread running through every interaction. Consistency is the bedrock of recovery because that’s a myth. Some things can never be recovered from, just endured better. But being constant in how you are can’t be understated.

Vulnerability is critical in adulthood. I wear mine on my sleeve now. You might think this is some weakness, but that means you have failed to realize the strengths of vulnerability. With it comes the ability to admit you are wrong, feel genuine empathy, and relate to others. Vulnerability is the price of empathy, the core of kindness. Initially, you might resist vulnerability because society often portrays it as a weakness. Still, as you go through life, you realize that in surviving, you have nothing to fear beyond where you’ve been. Vulnerability transforms from something scary into a profound strength. It’s the currency of empathy and the foundation of kindness. It reveals the truth of situations and empowers you to bring about change.

In the pursuit of truth, whether it’s easy to handle or not, you understand that humanity encompasses both the darkest and brightest aspects. Even those who strive to be incredibly kind can sometimes display unspeakable cruelty. The worst criminal cruelty has no other avenues we should try in the legal system for justice, but often, it’s the cruelty of dismissal, ignorance and indifference that is hard to come to terms with. To truly embrace kindness, you must recognise this duality in yourself and others. How you speak and act towards others matters, especially in the hustle and bustle of daily life, where words can hurt and ignorance can be malevolent.

However, excessive coddling can also be detrimental. Sometimes, people need normalcy and the challenge to push forward and believe in themselves. This matters significantly because rebuilding your self-belief and faith in humanity can’t happen if you’re constantly anxious and doubtful. It would help if you had opportunities to practice.

Recognising that everyone has their struggles is essential. I’ve yet to meet anyone, regardless of their background or social status, who doesn’t have something they worry about or feel vulnerable about. This rings particularly true for leaders, who often must maintain a façade of composure. Unfortunately, we don’t usually inquire deeply into their well-being. However, sharing your vulnerabilities can open conversations that truly matter. A simple “Have you ever felt because I have?” can do wonders here.

Moreover, understanding that we have more in common than differences is a fundamental insight. That’s why I make it a point to engage with diverse viewpoints. It broadens your perspective and provides opportunities for kindness and understanding. Real change seldom comes from entrenched positions. Finding common ground can lead to amicable disagreements and even the formation of meaningful connections. You don’t always have to be ready for a fight; you often know less than you think you do.

Knowing that your worth isn’t measured on any scale, in anyone else’s views, praise, negative comments, or even your view of yourself sometimes. You measure your judgement by building a solid sense of self-worth by building success. If your judgement of yourself is low, start by seeing yourself as your friend, someone you love and are kind to. Build from there…as your journey is your own. Developing a sense of what you want your life to be is essential. Someone else will do it for you if you don’t define this. This, too, is an act of kindness toward yourself.

Finally, don’t hesitate to offer sincere praise and compliments generously. If you want to live in a world filled with kindness, start by showing it to others. We all need encouragement but ensure your words are genuine and consistent. That’s what truly matters.

These are just a few steps on the long journey towards kindness. Each of us walks our path, whether from the depths of darkness or the shallows of life, but we all share common ground. So, it’s worth reflecting on.

Conclusion: Finding Kindness in the Darkest Corners of Life

Building kindness is not a linear path, nor does it always emerge from sunshine and roses. It can blossom even from the depths of darkness, where understanding the complexities of human nature and embracing vulnerability become fertile ground. By acknowledging our shared struggles, engaging with differing viewpoints, and offering genuine kindness, we can collectively cultivate a world where darkness is less daunting and light shines brighter still. Kindness is a journey, not a destination, and every step we take, even from the darkest corners, contributes to a brighter future.

Caroline Keep

Twitter @Ka81

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