The pursuit of kindness
Have I told you how sad February month is? Because it only has 28 days in a month. By the time I am posting this, then I only have 25 days left to plan and execute things. Argh! It is frustrating. Anyway, I would like to say happy birthday to my padre for his 50th birthday. I cannot believe that he is turning 50. 50 is like golden age they say, but 50 is quite, and always old for me. I do not mean to be mean but yes, but eventually we are reaching 50 at one point. Having your parents getting a year older, and you, yourself is turning older--do you realise how many years we have left in the face of earth? How large is the chance of us coming close to our mortal departure as we grow older?
This is what I have been thinking too for these past week and days. A life in general.
I have been experiencing so much since the beginning of 2014, if I can measure this in year. My life starts to get more dynamic and I did not try to make things happened so hard like before. I allowed opportunity and said yes, and I am thankful for that. I am opening up myself to others and to the universe' call. I said yes. Thus, I realise, yes, I have walked so far and this is just the beginning. I cannot stay static or even move backward. Because there are many things in life that are interesting and uncovered yet for me. I am just 21--let's make it 22 because I am reaching that number in April--there are so many things I need to learn and find. It also takes a great sense of humbleness and humility to calm my excitement.
Have you ever heard of the pursuit of happiness? Instead of being a movie which stars Will Smith and little Jaden? Now, I want to talk about the pursuit of kindness.
... I do not understand the latin there...
The image I include in the post is of "Divergent" badges. I am trying to read Jiddu Khrisnamurti in between, however, I love dystopian stories and a follower and also a dreamer for writing one successful story :) There are 5 badges "Amity/Kind", "Dauntless/Bravery", "Abnegation/Selflessness", "Erudite/Intelligence", and "Candor/Justice". Somehow I find reference in dystopian fiction are true and reflects our society today. If I can choose for myself, my personality would either be Abnegation or Amity. Simply because I find so much peace in being kind and selfless.
I am not saying this to let others know, how a nice person I am. But instead, I want to share a frustration being a person that is too kind.
It was started when I was very young, probably starting in my elementary school era. We were living in a housing complex, in far corner (more like end corner) of Plaju, South Sumatra. An assigned housing area which accommodate all employee including regional executives, managers and directors of an oil and gas company. Every household, I believe had a strong financial fund, and my family was known to be one of those who had private cars aside from having transport assigned from the company.
Whenever there was a field trip from school, my friends used to ask for my car's availability just in case if we could not book any bus or find any other transport. I was fine with it, but my mother, she was extremely pissed off. Because, she thinks, out of 30 students why would we need to offer the only ride?
There were some similar experiences I had which involve the car and my abundant kind attention, and there was always my mum telling me "No" if my friends wanted to (or insisted to) using our car for our activities.
I did not understand her frustration until some years later when I grew up and gained more understanding about what happened... and yes, I think it was also unfair to let myself goes into unnecessary trouble and inconveniences.
Now, this mentality of kindness I developed since I was young, is still here except it evolves. I knew that it was not really a kindness, it was more than a submission towards peer pressure I had as small child. I wanted to have friends. I do not want to be alone. I was insecure.
And now, I am a grown adult who is happy and surrounded by family and friends, able to gain independence financially, a graduate from reputable university, I still feel the need of being kind for different reason, which is to less other's burden... and this is the point where people are telling me how foolish I am.
To less other's burden, what is so harmful in that? When same situation arrives, when someone needs a big favor, and when I asked my mother/friend/whoever of their opinion about that, they would likely to say no because this favor will be inconvenience and wasteful, and came a statement like, "you know what? you are too kind."
How does kind become a problem here?
For me, kind is my bottomline. I do not want to stop from being kind. I do not want to stop from giving. I do not want to stop from helping others, simply because I had been in a situation that was shitty and none was able to help me. So, I put that this way, what if I were in one person's situation but nobody was helping me? But I also know how it feels to be helped and saved, eventhough, I am an independent person. I always get my own stuff, and I do not depend on anybody so much. But we are built for dependency and we cannot do things by our own and that is why I find being able to help people is very fulfilling. Sometimes when we least expect it, I believe God and universe will return the favor to us. My friend who was reading Koran in the street of Mecca during her pilgrim received a date (fruit date) from strangers. During the holy month of Ramadhan, I was having an event--it was an orientation event to our juniors and we collaborated with the Christian Youth group--I walked to find the nearest mosque or musholah, it was not easy but as I was still determined and found the place to pray, the rests of the prayers who were mostly men welcomed me by calling me "sister" and gave me a bottle of water--These kinds of coincidences that speak to you is just lovely, whatever you religions or belief are. I am telling this in a perspective of a Muslim woman.
It is so upsetting to be called too kind because people thought that you are not brave enough to say and voice out. Well, not really I guess. I will push my agenda if the situation requires me to do so, but I have nothing to prove now but so what? See agenda in larger perspective. Like you see the wars in the middle-east, or the Vietnam war. Study all the nations in the globe. Our politics is passive-aggresive because everybody is not being selfless. They want to gain power and security. So, I choose not to be a part of that. That is why I do not really bother to explain if my opponent is so strong about their argument (the number one opponent would be my mother), because nothing you say is going to make things better. So let it go, learn to accept and know what humility is.
Although for me, I still want to defend myself on the ground rather than being treated like shits by everyone. I think I know my limit. And I do not care of they think my limit is soft and foolish, or I can do better than that, I can push harder than this... I just hope I can contribute this to a larger scale, a world peace perhaps.
Now I think about what makes me kind too. I sometimes think my kind is not enough, in a sense of my vertical relationship with Him and the universe that he controls. I am still taking too much instead of giving. Within these two months, I think I have not perfected my religious practice sometimes it bothers me too. I came across a quote saying that "You believe in God but instead you do what He forbids"
Now I am touching a grey line here. I still do believe that humans are created for these questions and ventures. We are built with desires or maybe even capability to defy the natural and social rules. I believe God wants us to take control. Life wants us to take control because if we take too much we will not have nothing more in hands. I believe this is a challenge from Him that we should embrace. And for me, I just hope to find the answer before the time runs out and I really do hope that he still opens the door for me after I gain deeper understanding.
So friends, whether you are in my situation of being too kind or being in my opponents position. I still think it is important to pursue kindness while you have the chance too. You might not know and learn not to expect anything. Sometimes people's words might offend you, you cannot take it and instead writing a blog post about it... but remember that, you are living your own life with your ideals. Do not let other shove their ideals to you but don't close yourself either. I believe if they are so into it when convincing that you do is wrong then, something must be wrong with your opponent. If you study closely, your opponent is talking to themselves only they flow all emotion to you because you are in a weaker position of seeking advice.
I used to be (and still am) a person who cannot take criticism, eventhough I am a too kind person, I guess I am born a stubborn Taurus bred from a protective parenting. There is one advice, two actually, the other one sounded more like a plead which was, "Let the people in to help and fix you." The moment I heard that, I did not realised what a close person I used to be.
Let people in.
That's the keyword. I am still listening to advice from my parents and my selected bestfriends, and it could have never get any better. I am happy. And if you really need somehow to shove your ideals, if you have to be an opponent of a person because you think this person needs to take some of your opinion to make her/his life better, please... please... pick the right approach. Because it is true, Indonesian proverbs said "Mulutmu, harimau mu." Your words are dangerous weapons.
It is true. That is why I do not really keen on sharing my ideals too much if I see my opponent is expressing the contrary and instead they are being the dominant in the conversation. I do not like to make others feeling bad of themselves, because I know how it feels to feel bad about myself. I am not a person who enjoys confrontation (however, I am starting now, to one of my co-workers who treat me like shit) but I will somehow open up for a challenge and debate to few people I have trusted.
What I can say is be kind... and rewind!
Think on These Things
By the way, I am now reading Jiddu Khrisnamurti's Think of These Things... a worth-reading book if you like spirituality and challenging bigger question in life... ah, something that I call new as well :)