I was working at the Jewish temple when I first saw the words. “The highest form of wisdom is kindness” was a quote from the Talmud. Later, I found those same words, artistically drawn on a plaque no less, at a common home goods store. I purchased it and it is hanging in my mudroom at this very moment.
Why does this quote mean so much to me?
Because it reminds me that though others may not be right about something, it is not always necessary for me to point this out to them.
For instance, Jim and I miscommunicated last week over a small matter. I knew I was right (of course) and he did the quick two step to try and cover up his own bad memory. On the spot, I decided it would do no good to hammer him about it or rub it in, so instead I decided to try a little humility. I said “Wow, I guess I completely forgot I said that to you”, thereby diffusing a tense situation and practicing kindness in the act.
And Jim, ever the good example of humankind said “Well Jo, that’s probably just how I remembered it.”
Now I know you’re going to say that some things are just worth arguing about and I agree. But there are times when I ask myself truly, is it worth it? Maybe I make a great argument for a point about something and rub my ego shiny in the process. But then what do I do with that? I am the fluffed up rooster, crowing my accomplishments and I forget about what’s really important.
What’s really important is that I treat everyone as if they are a child of God.
So this means I am respectful. I am kind. I try and look at another person’s perspective and if theirs doesn’t agree with mine, that’s ok. I will love them anyway. If another person’s bad behavior affects me, I can set some decent boundaries. But I never want to not be kind about it.
My recovery friends like to say Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? It’s basically the same thing as the Talmud but I do love this more simplified version. It’s worth it sometimes to give in just a little, for a center full of happiness.
“You can either practice being right or practice being kind.”
― Anne Lamott
How do you feel about kindness? Who do you practice kindness towards?