(This piece first appeared on Rebelle Society.)
Congratulations, you’re going to die.
Well, not today (hopefully) but one day and without you realizing, this tiny truth has anchored itself to the core of your existence. Consequently, it’s up to you to deal with your imminent demise. The way that you respond has a name. It is called ‘life’. It is called ‘your life’. It is called ‘now’.
The ways in which individuals, societies and cultures collectively choose to live ultimately results in diverse and varied impacts: alcoholism and acceptance, beatings and beauty, crime and creativity, drugs and dreams…
Conflicting choices abound because life itself is inherently conflicting, a simultaneously wonderful and woeful experience – wonderful because it has begun and woeful because it will end. In hopes of helping us to enjoy our experience, we have decided to simplify the complexity of existence into two small ideas.
First, we must understand the problem: Life is short and then you die.
Next, we must investigate our proposed solution: Just be kind. That’s it.
Just. Be. Kind.
It sounds too easy, doesn’t it? We agree. However, the easiest ideas are often the most difficult.
Keep calm. Love free. Be yourself. Don’t worry. Live in the present. Forgive.
Need I go on?
The crux of the problem is that on any given day, at any given moment, each breath we take may be our last. Unfortunately, few recognize it and not many act on it. Nobody ever thinks they’re going to die today, but they do – thousands of them, millions of us – every day, every week, every year. With this thought in mind, perspective evolves and as our petty day to day grievances wither up and fade away, we become free.
Life is short. That is what matters. Love is fulfilling. That is what matters. How well you choose to love life and live loving – that is the true concern.
So, let us live and love well. Let us be brave enough to be ourselves. Let us be powerful enough to resist the pressure to not pursue our own path. Let us be bold enough to make a difference. Let us honor ourselves and, in doing so, let us honor each other. Let us try to forget and let us remember to forgive. Above all, let us be strong enough to just be kind.
Everybody struggles, and everybody is struggling, in their own way, place and time. Nobody is immune to hardship, nobody avoids obstacles and nobody has ever skipped a meeting with failure. We are all affected by lies and we are all afflicted with life.
Sometimes bad people will do bad things to you, but they’re not bad people and they’re not bad things. They just are and if you get angry, they win. The best revenge is a happy life. Rise above. Accept and elevate. Take it as it comes, one day at a time, moment by moment, and above all, just be kind.
The world is a crazy place. People yell and scream, fight, kill each other. It’s on us to make it better. It’s a big job and it’s hard but anything worthwhile is difficult at the start. Luckily, we are a team, all in it together. We are each losing our own battles, yes, but we are all on the upward climb to higher ground and better views and we are all, each of us, trying to do the best that we can.
Everything gets easier as time goes by, but it all begins with a solitary moment, an idea, and an impetus to do good, to be better, to help out. Every stranger knows something you do not. Let them teach you. Each person you pass on the street has something to share, a passion, a pleasure. Let them show you. Start now. Just be kind.
The choice is yours and the options are plenty, but please take kindness with you wherever you go. Tattoo it on your arm, wrap it around your neck and place it in your pocket. Wear it up on your head like a big shining tiara. Shove it into the palms of the hands you shake. Whisper it to those who need to hear it loudest and shout it at those who are distracted and ambivalent.
Everyone deserves kindness.
Believe that, and believe in each other. Prove the power of a compassionate heart.
Let the oozing goodness of good cheer fall out of every conversation you have, let the positive immerse itself into everything you do, let the crowds gather in the street to feel the light streaming from your soul, let the darkness run for cover as you let the evil escape into the cracks from whence it came, and let the smiling masses multiply the good fortune and heart-warming humility you shower onto the shoulders of everyone you encounter but, above all, first and foremost, just be kind.
Everyone includes you, so treat yourself with respect. You’re not a terrible person. You’re not a bad seed. You’re not cursed or jinxed, overweight or undeserving, and you’re not stupid or ugly or slow or cruel. Rather, you are good enough and, fortunately, good enough is enough.
Accept your flaws, forgive your failures and keep moving forward.
You are doing the best that you can and that’s okay. You will try harder tomorrow and that’s good. You will cut yourself some slack when things don’t go as planned and that’s required. You will treat yourself and your heart the way you would treat a loved one’s child – with care, with respect, with pride.
You will do the things that you want to do and you’ll be the person you want to be and when things go awry, when life hits a rough patch, you will remember that kindness is what counts, you will recall that compassion is what matters, you will recognize that you deserve to have a good life…
You deserve to have a good life…
You deserve to have a good life and you will believe that you are enough to do the things that matter most. You will just be kind to yourself. I know you will.
Being kind to yourself means that you follow your bliss, stand up for yourself and live a life that would make you jealous. Being kind to yourself means that you treat your heart with respect, forgive your errors when necessary and punish yourself only when needed, only when encouraging.
Being kind to yourself means getting up each and every day and living the shit out of your life. Being kind means being healthy and happy, to both yourself and your surroundings. It means being comfortable with the confusing confrontations that life occasionally throws in your face. It means owing yourself a good life and it means making the necessary sacrifices to get there. It means being the best you possible.
Oh, but it’s hard.
It’s so hard.
I know that some days are cold, rainy cowards and I know that some nights are twisted, vile adventures. I know that sometimes, somewhere, life will gain the upper hand, push you down and wind you up. It has happened before and it will happen again, but don’t fret. Don’t worry. Don’t surrender. Keep your chin up and keep your hopes high.
Keep going, keep moving forward and through all of the storm clouds and strong doubts, through all of the heartaches and mistakes, through all of the love taken away and through all of the obstacles and oblivion that you overcome, keep in mind to just be kind, just be kind, just be kind…
It’s doesn’t sound like much, but it’s everything, both a starting point and a finish line.