We may not be able to make others do what we want them to, but we can sell them the idea of why they should. Selling an idea is no different than selling merchandise. Our patron first needs to see what we are selling. We then need to show them how it works, prove to them it works, and convince them the price tag is a bargain.
We all want people to be kind, loving, and respectful to us, but we can never demand them. Even if we do, others may not necessarily oblige. These things also lose their very essence when they are given to us because we asked for them. Can you imagine how it feels when someone is kind to you just because you asked them to?
Good relationships make one’s life meaningful and happy. We are all social beings who were made to seek to belong, to be accepted, and to be loved. A relationship involves us and someone else. For it to be good, there must be a fortuitous and reciprocal flow of kindness and goodwill. Although most people gravitate towards those who are of similar interests, personality, or mindset, sustaining the relationship beyond the honeymoon period requires work. This involves being kind and loving to the other person, so much so that being the same to us becomes the easier and more natural choice for them to make, and not doing so would make them feel unsettled. We can change how others act when we change our behavior towards them. Kindness begets kindness. Over time, people usually mirror what we project to them repeatedly. That is why we become like the person we interact with the most. We need more people to buy in to the idea of kindness if we want to experience more of it.
It is ironic that we take for granted those who are closest to us. We sometimes feel that closeness gives us permission to do it. We may even believe that the degree of looseness and carelessness of our speech and action determines the depth of the relationship. As if having no boundaries is a mark of true friendship. That is why familiarity often breeds contempt. We wait until the relationship sours before we start reflecting on why this turned out like this. The people closest to us are the ones we count on to stick with us and accept us when no one would. But how can we expect them to keep loving us when we are unlovable, when we do not even treat them with basic kindness and respect? We would have no goodwill to withdraw from if we do not invest in them. The people who are closest to us are the ones we need to treat with the utmost care. They should be treated like precious fragile gems because they are. We need to always be thoughtful and speak kindly to them. The relationship should be fun, but we should not make fun of the other. We can make fun of a situation, but never of the person. There should be no room for harsh words to be exchanged. This would be like leaving a Rolex watch in a gym bag that is thrown around and left unattended on the floor; it can get ruined and stolen. Harsh language can hurt even if it seems innocent and funny at the moment. It is like acid that penetrates through the surface and causes progressive damage below where the eyes can see. We should make a conscious effort to treat the ones who are dearest to us in a way that reflects how we truly feel about them. It should be obvious to them that they are special to us. If it is not, we may have to reflect on how we can do better. One of the twelve universal laws is the law of cause and effect which states that our action will lead to a reaction. If we are kind to others, they will respond kindly to us born out of the good feeling our kindness generated in them. Another universal law is the law of compensation which essentially maintains that we get what we give. We feel good when we are kind to others because we see how happy it made the other person feel, which makes us feel noble and useful. Should we receive a heartfelt “thank you,” it makes us feel appreciated and loved. Being kind to others may require effort, but over time, it becomes second nature if we continue to practice it. The return on investment is high and we receive compounding returns. We will learn that it feels good to be good to others, which makes us want to keep doing it, and we will continue to keep feeling better and better each time.
We are all unique individuals and need to learn to accept each other for who we are. Sometimes though, we wish that people close to us would develop certain traits and characteristics that would help improve our relationship. None of us are perfect and there are always things we can be better at. Telling someone to do what is not in their nature to do is ineffective and may be potentially damaging. We do not get into a relationship with the hopes of changing someone. Two people come together because there are more things desirable and compatible between them than not. It would be mutually beneficial though to help each other grow and become better versions of ourselves. If we wish someone would be more thoughtful, loving, considerate, or kind, we need to give them a sample of what it is like. It may be in our nature to be like that, but it is not in theirs. We cannot presume that they have it in them to be so. It requires an adequate experience of love to be able to love. Selling the idea of kindness is no different from selling ice cream. The color and texture may look good, but everyone has different preferences. Some do not like it too sweet, and some may want it plain and simple without all the add-ons that require extra chewing. We let people sample what we have to offer and let them experience it for themselves. If they enjoy the experience, they will come back for more. Once they have acquired the taste for it, they may not just buy it for themselves, but may start sharing it with others. If we want others to act a certain way, be that way to them first and let their own experience convince them that it is a good thing. The effort required to be kind is minimal if it is in your nature to be that. If you truly believe in the quality and benefits of what you are selling, trust that people will buy into it and start being it. That is how we change the world, one person at a time. We change ourselves, and the world will follow.
The best time to sell an umbrella is when it is raining. The easiest way to sell the idea of kindness is when people are rude and mean to us. When people are not nice to us and we love them despite this, the counter intuitiveness of it highlights its significance. People are unkind because they do not have inner peace. They may be struggling from insecurities or past hurts. Giving them grace by overlooking their fault helps them experience the profoundness of unconditional love. This is the kind of love they need to heal. Once they have experienced this, they are now better equipped to give the same to others. The beneficiary of our kindness may also wonder how we are able to remain kind despite the affront. If asked, we may have a perfect opportunity to share the reason behind our action, whatever that may be. For certain, it is because of something higher than us. It may require a lot of mental fortitude to turn the other cheek, but the rewards are eternal. Some investments we make in life do not require much effort and risk; the rewards from these are modest. Being kind when others are not, especially when they are outright hostile, requires heroic efforts but the rewards can be immeasurable.
The supply of kindness is somewhat limited, but the demand is great. This drives up the cost of kindness. People sometimes go through extreme measures to find a dose of it. Many people suffer from the lack of it. Some live despondent and depressed. Suicide has also become a significant problem in modern society. We need to be a good salesman of kindness. Whenever opportunities present themselves, we need to hand out samples of it. Let people experience it so they will know the joy it brings to others and to themselves. Show them how to do it by our example. Hopefully, they will pass it on to the next person they meet. There is a price to pay for anything good in life. Fostering love and kindness in our daily lives requires sacrifice and effort. Others paid the price for us, and it is up to us to pay it forward to keep this good thing going. We cannot do all the work ourselves. We need to recruit more people to buy into it and spread it further on our behalf. By this, we all end up experiencing more kindness in our lives when there is an abundance of it overflowing and pervading various sectors of societal life. Help sell kindness. When people buy one, you take one.