My deepest pity lies with those who can neither offer or receive kindness, without waiting for the other shoe to drop. Don’t mistake me, I am neither naive  nor unobservant of human nature. We all have motivations, the question is: what is your other shoe? What drives your kindness?

I’ve had many ‘shoes’ but a couple years back I decided to change ‘brands’ and never look back.  My other shoe is uncomplicated and undemanding. Unrealistic expectations are a short road to disappointment. Somewhere I realized the longer sighted the ulterior motive, the more likely someone would fail to meet my expectations. Though no one would mistake me for a people person, I rather enjoy making people realize their value and worth. I enjoy seeing people realize they are appreciated. On occasion, I do something ‘sweet’ and also rather enjoy watching people squirm; they are uncertain if I want something in return or if I’m really as genuinely kind as I seem. 

I can’t claim I’m completely without secondary ‘what’s in it for me’ motivations sometimes; however, most of the time I have chosen to live without them. In my life, I decided that no one is guaranteed to be in my life till the day I die, except myself. This puts the pressure on me to treat others better than they deserve, swallow my hurt feeling and me first and pour into the people around me. I’m not a saint, there are people I consider ‘Slinkies’ (as in: some people are like slinkies, the only thing they are good for is making me laugh when they get pushed down the stairs.) At one time, some of those people were valued and their actions proved they were valued too highly.

I can’t go back to all the people who mattered to me 10 years ago, or even a year ago or sometimes even 5 minutes ago. Some people are lost to me forever (and in some cases that is welcomed relief), but how I treated them in the past stands. I sincerely hope, I have treated the people in my past well and they knew they mattered. I’m human, I’m certain I botched that more often than I succeeded. I can’t change my past, I can however let the people in my today know they matter. 

I realize treating people well is an expensive hobby. Somedays, it takes every ounce of patience and tolerance I can muster. Unfortunately, kindness is also a commodity which is too often taken for granted, abused, neglected, or misunderstood. If I treat someone with kindness, I make no promises I will be there tomorrow to do it again. I will offer what I have today and for the moment enjoy making someone’s day. If I feel like I got kicked in the teeth for being genuinely kind, I will not return and you may find yourself labeled a ‘Slinkie’. If someone takes my kindness and asks for more after I am spent, I will become indifferent. If the kindness is misunderstood (looking a gift horse in the mouth) I will leave with a smile recognizing the person is not yet capable of being genuine. If my kindness is treated with indifference and disgratitude, I will spend it on someone more deserving. All of those points made, I will continue to believe people deserve kindness and plan on dispensing it as if there is no other shoe.

My challenge to my readers is to figure out what your other shoe is and pour kindness out in a more enlightened way. Turn ‘what’s in it for me’ upside down and be kinder for real.

‘Be kinder than necessary, everyone is facing some kind of battle.’

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