Keeping a mental balance can be so hard.
Especially this last month, which has been particularly difficult and hectic. I’m sure you’ve noticed. How could you not? Mass shootings, world-wide political unrest, war, terror…June has been objectively terrible.
It started getting worse at the end of May: flat tires, minor accidents, scrapes, bumps, bruises, misunderstandings, and general tension. It’s been getting steadily worse ever since. On a personal, national and global level. Horrible things have been happening.
The personal level seems so inconsequential in light of national and global tragedy, but it’s very important. It’s the level over which we have the most control. It’s our daily interactions that make a day easy or difficult. It’s negative and positive interactions that make a day bad or good. More and more, I’ve noticed negative interactions:
Every time I leave the house, a car horn honks for no apparent reason. More of my friends and acquaintances have had breakdowns in the last week than in the last year. Every new interaction I’ve had has been on edge. Some have even been openly hostile. In one week two people at work had hospital-worthy injuries.
I’ve even noticed negativity in myself. I’ve been having knee jerk reactions to minor insults. Things I would usually laugh at or ignore have been sticking with me for days. I’ve been on eggshells in public, trying not to irk anyone or spark any anger. Out of the blue I’ve been saying mean things to and about the people I really care for. It’s like the mean words are coming out of someone else’s mind, but I can feel myself saying them. I can’t stand it.
So this weekend I decided to go on a #kindnessoffensive.
It takes a lot of energy, but it’s been worth it. Since my usually (more or less) Sattvic mindset has been subverted by edgy, anxious, angry Rajasic energy, I’ve been trying to have aggressively positive interactions with everyone I meet.
Someone stares at their phone while we’re talking? I compliment them. Someone cuts me off in traffic? I smile and wave. A server or barista is too tired to say more than “What do you want?” I thank her and tip 20%.
It’s exhausting, but it’s paying off. 3 different strangers yesterday thanked me for being polite. Until yesterday, I was pretty sure being polite was common practice.
Hopefully my kindness offensive is making a difference to the people around me. Even if it’s not, it’s worth it. I feel better. Instead of holding onto anger and hostility, I’m trying to practice Santosha; I’m trying to accept that doing my best is enough, even if anger and hostility is what I get in return. It’s hard, but it’s working.
I still don’t feel good, exactly. I can’t feel good when there’s this much pain and anger surrounding me. I am starting to feel better, though, and that’s good enough for now.
So I’m inviting you to join my kindness offensive. I’m daring you to find the rudest person you know, and shower them with love. I want you to selfishly attack everyone you meet with positivity and gratitude. I want your acts of kindness to be the most random and intense you can muster!
For your own sake, be a pushy love-monster. It feels damn good.