We often learn what kindness is through its opposite: rudeness, dismissiveness, abuse and war. And quite often, when someone is outwardly rude (or worse), our default programming is to respond in-kind.
The adrenaline charge we feel when faced with conflict is palpable and addictive. This internal sensation and the psychological thrill we experience is an important awareness. If you recognize that cascade of events and the way they arise in your body, that’s what Viktor Frankl long ago taught us about “that space.”
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”Viktor E. Frankl
One thing war teaches us is that without it we’re somehow ineffective, weak or stupid. So, in order to feel better, we engage in ridiculous battles because at least, it gives us something to do with the uncomfortable chemicals raging through our body.
“The opposite of war is not peace, it’s creation!”Jonathan Larson
But what if war was simply a call to create? Create what? whatever it is we’re arguing about; better relationships, better processes, better policies, economies, schools, enterprises–the list is endless, but the creation begins with you and in you.
Kindness is like a bridge out of own internal conflict–a solid and powerful bridge to what you most long to see and be.