One of my favorite Kingsfoil songs, “Brave Love,” has a line that goes: “Maybe someday I will get it right, let honesty and kindness be the prize.”
That line has stuck with me since the song released a couple months ago.
It’s leading me to think about how warped our priorities are, perverted by expectations, self-destructive through comparisons, struggling with the ever-climb of ambition, our parents, or even employers.
We’re living on this transactional basis in the “real world” while interacting through screens.
Further, we’re getting to that point in the semester where breezy syllabus week is long gone. Quizzes and exams are finally giving us an idea of how much this semester will take.
We’re pouring ourselves out as much as we can, if we’re not already feeling like the bottom of the barrel.
It’s starting to become fire-hosing what’s urgent instead of making the time for what’s important. This is how we crash.
All this leads me back to a simple question: How do we fill ourselves up? How do we stay sane?
This week is a grand opportunity. Feb. 10 to 16 is International Random Act of Kindness Week. For one week, can you refrain from complaint, and render a tender perspective?
It’s incredibly difficult to shift away from our default setting of, “The world revolves around me.”
If you haven’t watched David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water,” drop this article and go. We’ll wait.
Now, that understanding—knowing that the purpose of your education is to get you out of that default mode and make active choices—is where you begin.
It’s not going to be easy, though. George Saunders, in a commencement speech at Syracuse, said: “Because kindness, it turns out, is hard – it starts out all rainbows and puppy dogs, and expands to include … well, everything … Hurry up. Speed it along. Start right now. There’s a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness. But there’s also a cure. So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf – seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life.”
What attempt will you make this week to be kind, to fill yourself up with love by caring for others?
Feel free to inspire others with #dokindness and #RAKweek on twitter. Smile at a stranger (everyone says this, but have you actually tried it?), eat lunch with someone new or one you haven’t caught up with in a while, say “I love you,” give more hugs and less glares, look past a mistake.
Even better: spend time with someone with your devices tucked away and off.
Undivided attention is becoming the rarest of gifts, so start giving. See how you feel after you connect to those around you instead of checking the next box off that mammoth to-do list.
“Let honesty and kindness be the prize.”