Connect To Kindness
The qualities of kindness. Friendliness, generosity, being considerate. For some reason, these words sound so foreign. In my everyday life, I see fewer and fewer examples of this expressed. It is true we are more connected than ever. Yet, we often don’t exercise these qualities with each other in real life or online.
Practicing kindness and compassion
Kindness to me isn’t intimacy: it’s a gesture in exercising the ‘Golden Rule’. “Do unto others as you would want done unto you.” Kindness may even mean going beyond that and treating everyone you meet with compassion and empathy. It is the realization that life is hard for everyone. And so in moments where one has to interact with others, the default option is kindness.
Positive regard goes a long way
Trust, these sentiments probably won’t be returned and that’s okay. It is in your positive regard for others that will affect change. Moments where I show kindness usually results in shock and surprise for the recipient. When I am met with kindness, my heart always melts. It makes me feel seen and appreciated just for being alive and present on this earth.
Approach everyone with kindness
People living with HIV and other chronic illnesses face daily challenges. It is a life of maneuvering and navigating situations the average person wouldn’t always understand. When you are approached with dignity, friendliness, and generosity, it can really change your whole day. It is a form of respect that acknowledges the achievement of being human. It is a worthwhile consideration because our existence in this world is important.
Conflict and disagreement
Often times, people show disregard for others because we differ in opinion. We use harsh and unkind words toward each other. We tear each other down for our differences and often we don’t want to discuss our differences. We just want to be heard and left alone. Others want to be heard and hurt other people. These unkind behaviors do the exact opposite. They alienate and divide people.
HIV stigma & discrimination
HIV stigma is an example of it and is completely unnecessary. Discrimination against anyone is an unkind act. If I had to be in the mind of someone that chooses to be unkind, I would reason that it is to hold some power over someone else. People that act in unkind ways want to be perceived as better than others. Other times, they just want to be the person with the right moral opinion. And again, other times, people are just unaware.
Responding with my mom’s wisdom
No matter the cause of a person's unkind words, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that it can sometimes hurt. My mom always told me, “Keep your head up and keep going, no matter what”.
I continue to walk with those words in my mind when faced with unkind behavior. And I try to give it little space in my life so that I can make room to be kind to someone else.
Have you ever experienced discrimination due to your HIV status?