Anthony 53, New Jersey

What does it mean to be kind?

To let your guard down.  To be considerate even when you know it makes you feel uncomfortable.  Being kind means being selfless.  Getting beyond yourself is important with this… and it doesn’t take money to do it.

Being kind also means having emotional intelligence.  Some people do not have this at all.  I also think that people are often a reflection of how others have treated them in the past.  For me, if someone treats me ill, I’ll find a way to turn that (energy) around.  If someone slams a door or if a sales person is impolite, it’s a reminder to myself… I’m not going to be like that.  I’ll use things like that as an example of what not to do.  I’m not judging them, because I understand that many things outside of that particular interaction can happen to a person, which might affect their behavior; but I turn their negative energy into something positive.

An example along these lines that I see is in how people are treated.  When I’m wearing my Shemagh (head covering) people think I’m a terrorist, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I’m the one that they should run to.

Is it easy to be kind?

….you hear my pause, don’t you?

It’s easy to be kind over a period of time.  When I was younger I was different.  Now, I don’t care what 'they' think.  They don’t pay for my house or car and even if they did, life is too short.  I can be kind and ignore those that don’t matter.  My answer 20 years ago would have been different.

Can you be difficult?

Yes.

What do you do when others are difficult or challenging?

I listen.  Maybe I’m guilty of over-analyzing why they are difficult.  Then I realize that’s not worth it (the challenge/conflict).  I breathe into it and let it go.

Sometimes I try to be heard.  I ask myself if that person is going to change.  Then after that, if those things don’t work, I let it go realizing that people’s comments can be affected by things going on in their lives.

What’s the kindest thing that’s happened to you lately?

An old school friend wrote a very nice Facebook message to me and to my family when my mother passed away.  That was quite unexpected.  She told me that I was a positive influence on her son who is now a runner.  I actually didn’t even see the message, it was my wife who saw it and brought it to my attention.

On top of the wonderful message, she came to my mother’s service.  That was the icing on the cake.  Sometimes the people who you least expect or don’t expect anything from at all really move you.