Earlier this week I found out that someone had some very unkind things to say about me behind my back. I am in a leadership position at work, so I know there will be times when people talk about me, and when they don’t like me due to decisions that I have to make. But this particular individual launched a very personal and very hurtful attack against me, and I wish I had never found out about it.
This person is someone I had a confrontation with six months ago, but I believed we had resolved things and both moved on. We had agreed to disagree and not hold anything against each other. I thought we were good.
I was shocked to find out about this attack on my character because I truly believed we had forgiven and moved on. We have had many conversations in the last six months that led me to believe all was well. To learn that these positive encounters were all fake is difficult for me.
I am someone who likes to be liked. I find it very hard when someone doesn’t like me. However, I am thickening my skin in that area because working in human resources means there are going to be people who don’t like me. I will have to enforce policies and have disciplinary conversations and make unpleasant decisions that people will not like. I’ve already experienced this side of things, and I am at a point where I am ok with it.
However, a personal attack is different. It is much more difficult to simply brush off. My feelings were hurt, and I was angry. Angry at this person for the nasty things said, but even angrier for the false things said.
In the moment I reacted in anger.
I said something about this person that was harsh and unnecessary.
Immediately after I took a swig of my water and choked. I coughed hysterically as my eyes watered and I struggled to breathe.
And I knew.
I knew that I was choking because of what I had just said. I knew I was choking to remind me that even though this person had been unkind to me, it was not ok for me to be unkind to her.
I reacted poorly to her treatment of me. Instead of holding my head up and being confident in who I was, I let her words get inside me. I let her words make me angry. I allowed her words to make me say something I deeply regret. I allowed her words to transform me into someone I don’t want to be.
I want to be kind, always. I am kind, but not always.
It is very easy to be unkind, especially when you feel hurt or betrayed or angry. But those feelings do not make it ok to be unkind.
It is never ok to be unkind.
Kindness is hard. Kindness is hard when someone has been mean to you. Kindness is hard when someone has hurt you. Kindness is hard when someone has caused you pain. Kindness is hard when someone is yelling at you, insulting you and swearing at you.
Kindness is hard.
Be kind anyway.
The alternative is unkindness.
We already have too much unkindness in this world. We already have too many angry voices, nasty words and hurtful actions. We already have too much pain and too much sorrow. We already have too many people who think it’s ok to be unkind.
Choose a different path.
Refuse to take part in the unkindness.
That’s my goal the next time I’m faced with unkindness.
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