Kind, Without Sacrificing the Truth

You can be kind without sacrificing the truth. I wish more people understood this.

Disagreement isn’t hate. Rather, it’s an opportunity to learn from one other and expand our understanding. It’s a chance to foster mutual respect.

After posting about “white privilege” recently, I was dumbfounded that no one was cruel or combative. You listened, discussed, expressed understanding, and showed empathy. And I was deeply touched.

Telling a harsh truth is the ultimate act of kindness. Thereโ€™s nothing kind about lacking the courage to say what must be said. Loving people should not involve lying to comfort them. Ignoring or obfuscating the truth in order to appear kind, or even genuinely in an attempt at kindness, is in fact very unkind.

In the modern Western world, it seems that people not longer know how to balance the objective with the subjective. Ultimately, I think the root cause is that it is difficult and people are lazy.

We teach our children to be kind, not nice. Nice is easy, whereas kind requires love and personal sacrifice. Kindness, on the other hand, is recognizing another–being able to say I see you, I hear you, and I care about you. Kindness is having the courage to broach difficult topics, and kindness is an exercise in responding–rather than reacting–to harsh truths.

So, thank you for all who read and responded with kindness to my frustration-laced observation. I’ve been thinking about it for several days now, I can’t begin to express how much I appreciate YOU.

13 thoughts on “Kind, Without Sacrificing the Truth

    1. Oh, that is a great bumper sticker! In a past life, I was total doormat and pushover. One of the gifts of being ill is losing any tolerance for bullshit… I’m a rehabilitated “nice person.” ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Erin, thank you for this because it is so very true. When we open ourselves in respectful, kind honesty to share hurt or pain with another we show our vulnerability. Many people worry about alienating the other person, destroying a relationship with a loved one and so they remain silent or step around an issue without really saying anything. I’ve heard the term finesse used a lot to indicate never really stepping into the entire situation, never getting to the heart of the matter if you will! But how do we come to understand what motivates others, or they us, if we refuse to open ourselves in kind and meaningful ways?

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    1. Deb, I love your incorporation of “getting to the heart of the matter”–without the willingness to be vulnerable and deep trust, can we even connect with someone on a meaningful level? If so, I imagine it would be quite a challenge. And I wonder where the fear of alienation comes from–is it rooted in ancestral tribe mentality, or has that kernel of fear been amplified as a product of these divisive times?

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      1. I don’t think we can connect well if we aren’t willing to stretch into that hard territory and I won’t censor myself in that way anymore. The alienation thing is something I’ve been hearing personally lately and honestly it puzzles me. If your relationship is that tentative to begin with then perhaps you need to re-evaluate the relationship altogether because something seems off…

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      2. I understand and agree, Deb. It takes energy to walk on eggshells, and I’ve found it’s generally not worth the effort. I can’t imagine behaving that way in every interaction, fearful of upsetting or offending… I’d much rather have those hard conversations and walk away agreeing to disagree.

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  2. What a beautiful follow-up post, Erin. I’ve lamented the gaps I see, in groups large and small, about the inability to dialogue. To share, reflect, think, consider — by opening up and allowing individual experiences to flow freely, without quick condemnation or ire. It’s how we connect, grow closer, learn and yet the quickness to judge and label often makes disclosure an act of extreme courage. Kudos to you in every way. Sending hugs this morning! ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Vicki! I agree–most people are trapped in the land of superficial, surface-level topics, like football and celebrity drama. To reveal a potentially controversial opinion, personal failing, or other vulnerability and to be accepted nonetheless. Wow! It beget more of the same–sharing, connection, growth. Sending hugs right back at ya, VickI! ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

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  3. I love the distinction you draw between kind and nice. You really nailed it. And I love your gratitude for the WordPress community. I’m with you – I’m amazed with the empathy, depth, and ability to listen of this platform!

    Sending gratitude to you for your wisdom and vulnerability!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A decade ago, I would have considered “kind” and “nice” to be synonymous, but it’s fascinating to step back and note the differences. The WordPress community is absolutely amazing! I would be so interested to see what the commonalities of its users are… maybe a particular Myers-Brigg personality type, set of values, or lens through which they the world. I just love being here–it’s deep connection without the energy required to go out into the world, which is such a gift.

      Liked by 1 person

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