A lovely couple, from two doors down, welcomed us to the community with a platter of warm, loving cookies-and have remained consistently kind-hearted, available, and interested. To me, this is both humbling and remarkable. People often present as “friendly” for the sake of the optical but are often simultaneously disinterested and unkind.
I am definitely not a friendly person by nature. But– I have learned to be kind–not to be confused with: being social, people pleasing, or willing to hustle for my worth. Lacking a need to be perceived as friendly, people concerned with appearances are
threatened confused by me. Trusted Others –recognize this: Not always wearing a smile, I will help any person in need, without being asked and regardless if I like or “approve” of them. That is how I am learning to practice kindness. NOTE–I take my safety and my own needs into consideration before helping another. I am learning how and when it is appropriate to help as well as from whom it is prudent for us to accept help.
The Other Neighbors
Last night playing paddle ball outside, after only a few minutes, my boys returned frightened by the man across the street who confronted them, “You speak?” S2 responded “Yes”. Scary neighbor answered, “You hit my car with that ball and you won’t be speaking anymore.” I find this to be menacing and unnecessary. Unacceptable actually. And 100% following suit for these neighbors. Recovery tells me, we do not earn or deserve this and need not accept it or fight about it.
Earlier this year, I observed our neighbor backing into my boyfriend’s car- and without stopping– driving away. With a note on the door, we requested to swap insurance info. When we met, Greg was scolded, “You shouldn’t have parked there (serves you right)” —my space in front of my own unit!! Clearly this would be another exercise in dealing with or detaching from sick people. Angel-pie Greg chose detachment and addressed his now dimpled car door, on his own, without a police report, compensation, or further engagement….He is Wholesome BadAss 100%.
A few weeks later- feeling audacious, I boldly parked in my space and climbed the steps to my door. From across the street, I was admonished “Remember what happened last time you parked there?”. AYFKM??? I am intended to park there and expect to do so without harassment or anxiety. On a side-ish note, the neighbor was seen more recently backing into the HVAC service van parked in my designated spot.
Seriously, just own your issues. Ask for what you need instead of trying to smash and grab. If asked, “Hey, I forget to look before backing out and worry I may hit your car, would you mind not parking there?” I would be honored by the humility of that request and avoid doing so when possible. I will not, however, be bullied into meeting someone else’s personal and unreasonable needs communicated righteously and indirectly.
So, while I feel non-plussed by those across the street, I am grateful for the kind couple who genuinely ask “How are you doing?” and stop to listen. Each time I ring their bell, with a question, cub scout fundraiser, requesting a pair of loppers, I am welcomed to sit and connect. I am keenly aware of the fact that I understand and accept cruelty much more readily than I do this sort of unearned kindness. I guess by definition, kindness is not to be earned and
should be questioned when performed by anyone believing it does. Similarly, cruelty is not earned. Some people are cruel and some are kind. I am examining this all very carefully as it mirrors my experience with my family. I guess my only real course of action-is choosing to respond with kindness and directness to preserve our serenity as a family. I do not need to be right or in charge, just allowed to live in peace.
Kindness is for BadAsses! What does kindness mean to you?
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