Showing kindness isn't the same as showing weakness

To My Arch Nemesis, Don't Mistake Kindness For Weakness

An open letter to my arch nemesis.
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You know who you are, or maybe you don't, but that's OK because I know who you are and how you've affected me.

This isn't directed at any one person in particular or any few, but to anyone that I ever watched treat people poorly.

I've never been someone who's known to openly have problems with people, in fact, I'm the opposite. I get along with most people, and they get along with me. So I've rarely ever felt the need to start trouble with anyone.

"Sure they might not be the nicest person, but they're nice to me." I used to think.

But I don't think that way anymore.

Maybe it's because I am now confident enough in myself that I'm not afraid to get involved where I don't necessarily have to, or maybe it's because I have been spared so many hard times because of the good people I've always surrounded myself with, and too many other deserving people haven't had that luxury.

Either way being a bystander to an injustice of any kind and choosing to keep quiet makes you no better than the person committing the act. If you don't agree with something you have the power to do something about it.

Doing something, anything, will always be better than doing nothing.

You never know what someone is going through, so even the smallest acts of kindness could have such an impact on a person.

Never let intimidation or reputation silence you.

Think about how you want to be remembered. You don't have to do some heroic act to be remembered of as a good person. You can just be nice to people.

Unless of course, you'd prefer to be thought of as the mean girl who put others down, or the bully that no one could stand to be around.

News flash to anyone who feels like they have to be mean to people to keep their foothold in some none existent hierarchy, just because you walk around acting like your better than people, doesn't mean you are.

If it seems like certain people avoid talking to you or crossing paths with you, it doesn't mean they're scared of you or that you have any sort of power over them. It probably just means that they feel bad for you. That when they look at you they can see right through your hard exterior, what they see is the real you.

A sad, lonely, pathetic person that hurts others to hide that they are hurt themselves.

So to everyone who's inspired me to write this, I know you never meant to do anything to me intentionally, but you did when I watched you hurt someone else.

Don't mistake mine or anyone's kindness for weakness. I can't speak for everyone you've had some sort of negative effect on, but if we are ever to meet again I probably won't be as nice as you remember, to you at least.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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