I was in a cab in NYC with my real estate agent and friend. He was tied in a knot, stomach flared, frustrated about a person he was doing a deal with who was out of integrity. He admitted (like a good New Yorker) to flying off the handle and asked me what to do.
Rather than give an answer, I listened. I was curious, too. Too many times, I’ve flown off the handle when I believed someone was mistreating me.
I remembered my childhood friend Clare—a sweet, good woman who always wears a smile. In 40 years of knowing her, I’ve never seen her angry.
Once, she gave me her secret. I’ll never forget it:
Kill ‘em with kindness, she told me.
A few days later, I was in a cab after arriving at Penn Station. I had my headphones in my ears, listening to a good tune, not paying attention to the cabbie or his driving.
Suddenly, he was hitting the steering wheel with his hands and yelling, turning back to look me.
“The streets are blocked. I’ve been telling you over and over… I can’t get you to your destination!”
He said a lot of other things too, screaming, He was off his rocker. Really.
I said, as kindly as I could, “I didn’t hear you. My headphones were on. That’s OK. You can let me out. I’ll walk home. . .”
He kept yelling and raising his hands at me, “I don’t speak English well. I don’t understand you. I have to pay my manager. The traffic is very bad.”
I remembered my childhood friend.
“I’m sorry. Your job’s very hard. It must be so difficult not to be able to speak English. Just let me off here.”
I meant it sincerely.
He softened. It was neat to see. But I didn’t care. I was neutral. I knew his anger wasn’t about me.
How I wished, in every relationship I’ve been in, that I could see that what they were angry about really wasn’t about me. And more so, I wished that I never took it personally.
THE TRICK IS:
When triggered, draw upon kindness.
And when you can’t, know it’s because of something unresolved in your past. And then be interested and kind to THAT.
Sometimes, this way of operating feels like we’re sucking up to other people.
But with kindness, what we’re doing is making a poor situation turn out for the better by validating another.
SO THIS WEEK, ASK YOURSELF:
How might I meet a negative situation with kindness?
All people want to know is that you care.
It might just make a difficult, threatening situation easier.
Here’s to a week of easiness!
P.S. For more like this read my article for Tiny Buddha Love the Adventure of Life: 3 Ways to Enjoy Everything More.