It's not always easy to be kind. Oh how I wish it was. Wish it was our default. Wish it led the dance. Wish that kindness was what shined through — when situations get tense. when feelings get hurt. when stress mounts. when mistakes were made. If you could summon kindness in those moments, and always call her first. Man, would the world change.
But you don't. I don't (though I try. Hard). Collectively, we don't.
Why? Because there's a name to protect, and image to uphold. Of ourselves. Our identity and the way you operate in this world. You fight for rightness. You fight for credit. You fight for time. For power. For opportunity.
You fight to win. In the game of life, you fight to win.
In the craze of New York City and the hell of a passport agency, I fought to beat the clock. And I forgot kindness. Lines on lines and paperwork on paperwork, I fought to get a last minute update to my passport so I could leave the country as planned (my bad). Hours later, it was all in. Sign. Sealed. 2x2inch picture delivered. The passport would be mine in 24 hours.
Hustling back across the city, just in time to open my computer and bust out that last chunk of work, a 212 number calls me, informing me that we forgot to get my signature on the credit card receipt. I'd need to come back or else they couldn't process it. Insert multiple dropped F bombs here. I was mad. So mad. And off I went.
Back to the window I go, only to find my attendant out for break. But he just called? I said I was around the corner? On break?? So, like a hot headed and stubborn toddler I waited. Staring at the blank window. Arms crossed. Thoughts raging. Mad at the man who wouldn't go get the guy off break because I was here. Mad at the dude who forgot to have me sign the receipt. Mad at the taxi driver who wouldn't wait. Mad that I'm here. Mad people effed up. Mad. Irritated. Panties in a wad. Perspective lost. Pissed.
Enter passport dude. Trying to apologize. Trying to make it right. I stared. Blinked. Didn't say a word. Made him feel my anger. Made myself right. Then signed his stupid receipt. Turned around. And cried.
Sloppy sob cried hard for being mad at the wrong person. Cried for not choosing kindness. Cried for being heartless. He made a mistake. At least he corrected it. Me? I just took it and ran. Ran to my ego and my day and my righteousness.
Related: Crying at Work Is *So* on Fleek
Crying in the passport agency in the middle of NYC for having a stone heart. The #universe must have heard my call for forgiveness because on my way out I overheard a woman in broken english ask to use her window attendant's phone. Of course it was a no. But as her infant baby slept in her arm and she pleaded for help to call home to her country, I figured this was as good of time as any. This was my second chance at passport-agency kindness. Also known as basic kindness. We called her husband overseas. We sent pictures and information and translation of needs. We got her sorted.
And I could breathe. The sigh of second chances at a day. At the crystal clear understanding of what it takes — to win our day. To be human. To let the spirit rise. To put ourself first in our own lives. Kindness.
Everything else is a wash. Because here's the deal. The big kahuna. The oh holy of smokes. Your ticket to the championship of being the best human. Your straight shot to the top of the podium of life. Your way to an everlasting, eternal win for the soul is through kindness.
Sweet kindness. It always wins.
When you have your passport agency moment. Choose kindness.
When someone did something they shouldn't. Like really rocked your romper. Show compassion. Hold your boundaries. But show kindness.
And when the taxi driver goes in a huge loop the wrong way. Kindness first. Negotiating the meter down second.
When you're wrong. Crazy wrong. And you admit it. And they're yelling. Going on. And on. And on about your wrongness. Apologize one more time. Put your hand to your heart. Your ego will want protecting. But choose kindness.
To the strangers who don't expect your hello. To the cashier who doesn't expect you to engage. To the love of your life who doesn't expect you to understand.
It's compassion when they're wrong. It's warmth when you're mad. It's helpful when you're tired. It's tolerant when you're irritated. It's the high road when all that's expected is status quo. It's thoughtful when you're hurried and generous when you're already stretched.
It's kindness. And it will always win.
— Maxie McCoy
Check out more great stories from Levo League:
- "I Spent Almost $1,000 to 'Be Spontaneous'—and I Don't Regret It at All"
- 9 Times Coffee Prevented Me From Making a Fool of Myself
- 6 Unusual Ways to Rejuvenate Yourself During Your Lunch Break