Are You Kind?
That’s what matters to me. I don’t care what you do for a living. I don’t care if there are dishes in your sink. I don’t care if your car is new. I don’t care if you haven’t been vacation in years. I don’t care what brand of shoes you buy. I don’t care if your favorite jeans have holes in the knees. I don’t care if you own your house or rent. And I don’t care about what’s in your bank account.
Are you kind?
That matters to me.
You’re not your job or your savings. You’re not your past. You’re not your mistakes, old wounds, or those given to you by your parents. You’re not who you were a year ago. You’re also not the status of your relationship—be it single, married, separated, or divorced. You’re no less amazing if you’ve never been in love. You’re no less wonderful if you’ve been in love and screwed it up. You’re not the amount of success you’ve had, financial or personal. You’re not your failed attempts or those you never took.
Are you kind?
That is really the simplest measure of a person. Notice I didn’t ask, “Are you good?” Because what is good? Who is good all the time? I am not interested in goodness, because people can be good for all kinds of reasons—for the sake of the status quo, saving face, not tipping the apple cart. But kindness is a curious thing. It’s also a beautiful thing. It costs nothing, but means everything.
I remember kindnesses, big and small.
A few years ago, I’d made plans with a friend to meet up one morning. I missed the message he’d left, saying he couldn’t hang out. Realizing I didn’t get the message, he then showed up anyway, because he didn’t want me to be upset. It was very inconvenient for him, but there he was, apologizing because he could only stay a few minutes. I remember hugging him tightly and saying, “But you showed up.”
That mattered. It still matters.
Another time, my best friend brought me hot chocolate at work. I’d been having a bad day. Okay, week. Okay, month. Look, it had been a challenging series of unfortunate events. And she texted me to ask if I could come out into the parking lot. There she was, with hot chocolate on a cold day.
Yesterday, a really busy friend of mine dropped everything to listen to me, as I was having a mini-meltdown and plague of self-doubt. This girl is up to her eyeballs in work, trying her best to do her best, and she stopped to check in and listen. It cost nothing, but it meant the world to me. Giving someone time and attention won’t dent your savings. But it will touch someone’s heart. Trust me.
Money might make life easier. That’s true. But you’re not a dollar sign. You’re flesh and blood, dreams and hope, passion and promise. You’re not a career. You’re not how broken you are. You’re not what you’ve made or didn’t make. You’re not what you’ve left behind or what you’re about to leave behind. You’re not who you’ve loved. You’re not who loved you. You’re not even those instances in which you did not love.
You cannot be summed up so neatly. You cannot be defined so easily. You are not a straight line, and you cannot be boxed in.
Tell me: are you kind? Tell me: do you love?
Good. Now, show those things to the world.
The world needs more kindness and more love.
Start with being kind and loving toward yourself. Then extend that to others.