Kindness is Not Conditional

It’s frustrating when you’re not thanked for holding a door open. It’s annoying when people snap back at something innocent you say.

It’s unsettling when people do not reciprocate kindness.

But we must remember that we never know what kind of day someone had or is having. Maybe things in someone’s life are really tough right now. Maybe someone just lost someone they love.

You never know.

So if you’re being polite and kind, and it’s met with nastiness or rudeness, this is not the time to bite back. In fact, it’s a time when you should be even kinder. Because whether or not someone is going through a hard time in their life, it doesn’t matter. We need to always be focusing on how we can make other people’s day and life better, not blaming other people for their lack of kindness.

“But it’s everyone’s responsibility to be kind, not just mine! Having a bad day doesn’t give them the right to act that way.”

While we should all be kind, polite, and well mannered, we need to take accountability and ownership of ourselves and our own actions, instead of focusing on how everyone else should act.

And if you yourself are having a bad day, try to project kindness even still, because putting a smile on someone else’s face when you’re down might just put a smile on your own face.

We all can improve ourselves and be better to one another, so let’s start from within. Kindness is contagious, so focusing on being nicer to those around us regardless of its reciprocation, will spread joy and even more acts of kindness organically. Leading to a happier, more united life within ourselves and all who surround us.

Hiking and the Journey of Success

Hiking is a great form of exercise. It clears the mind and can also be physically challenging. But I think what is most important about hiking is the lessons we learn from it, and how we go about hiking, that can stand for and relate to many things in life.

I would say around 75% of the hikes we take are to reach a certain point or destination. And what I find so fascinating is that the goal of these hikes is generally to get half way. What I mean is that the destinations we set out to reach are only half way along the hike. We go toward some lake, mountain top, valley, etc., but that is almost always just the half way point. We go to great lengths in order to reach these destinations, and when they are reached, we temporarily forget that we must make the journey back towards where we started. Which often times means turning around and going back the exact way we came.

I think there is something profoundly sad about this. That our goals, in hiking and in life, are to reach the half way point. To reach the “pinnacle”, and forgetting the journey afterwards. We set goals that really are only just half way there. And usually, the journey back is never as exciting, because you’ve seen all of the same trees and trails before because it is exactly how you came in. We really end our hikes and our goals 50% earlier than we should. Which often leads to disappointment and leaving with a sense of being underwhelmed. We forget about the glory and the grandeur of our successes because we must push on past them and travel back into the familiar which becomes mundane.

What I mean is that we should not get so caught up on the successes and achievements of any single endeavor, that we forget about the journey, to it and thereafter. Turning around to go home should not be the mentality that we take when we hike or when we reach any goal we set out to achieve. In love and in life we must appreciate the hardships and troubles along the way in order to appreciate and enjoy the success of achievement even more. And we also must appreciate the journey to come after. You still have a few miles to go after you reach that mountaintop. While they will be down hill, they will still be trying and difficult times. Your perspective will change and you will be tired from the journey there, but you cannot become apathetic. Because you’re only half way there. And it’s time to work hard and enjoy the rest of the way.

Each new day is one to reach a new peak, a new destination, a new goal. But when we’ve reached that goal, there is still so much more to go until you can say that you have achieved it. Times will get hard, and it is always good to remember what it felt like to succeed and to reach that hilltop, but longing for the beauty of the past distracts from the beauty of the future. It leads to unhappiness and a loss of hope.

Set goals that will last a lifetime so that you’re constantly striving toward something, constantly climbing upward. So that when you reach that beautiful lake, that is where you will stay and live forever, instead of turning around, longing for the past with your head down, watching one foot step in front of the other and forgetting to look around you to see the wonder of the journey to come.