Kindness is loving people more than they deserve
We’ve all been unkind to somebody, somewhere at some point in our lives. Maybe it was on the phone with customer service or at the grocery store. Perhaps we are an unkind driver or to our coworkers.
Often our unkindness stems from others being unkind to us and thinking only of ourselves. Let us remember, though, that these are people too. They are part of our family and they have many of the same problems that we do. They’re trying to make ends meet. They have kids to feed, rent to pay, clothes to buy, debt to pay off, social problems, arguments, stress, anxiety, depression, illness, and all the other problems associated with our human condition.
I propose that we be more kind in our interactions, online, on the phone and in person.
My wife and I have both worked in call centers. I worked in technical support (I still do in a small capacity) and my wife worked for a credit union call center. We have both worked in various other customer service capacities and my wife is now a receptionist. I’m sure many of you have had similar work experiences as these are common jobs.
If you were to ask either of us about our “worst call” we would respond with “Which one?”. We both have had our fair share of horrible phone calls, cussing customers, angry people and callers who are just downright mean. I learned to forgive these people over time, but it took a lot of effort and patience. It is not an easy task.
I always tried to step into their shoes and asked myself questions like these: What were they going through today? What problems are they facing? How can I bring more positivity into their life?
I began to understand myself better and I began to care about these people more. As a result I became more caring and kind in my interactions with others.
Let us be kind in all our interactions. Do you really need to yell at the telemarketer or door-to-door salesman? Do you have to swear at the receptionist for messing up your appointment? Is belittling the support technician going to solve your problem?
Be kind on the phone. Be kind at the store. Be understanding when problems arise. Don’t be a pushover and be sure that you expect a high level of service, but do it nicely. It is always possible to be kind and caring rather than mean and angry. When stressful situations or problems arise, remember that these are people too with stress and problems just like you.
Let’s be kind.
Here are a few simple ways to show more kindness to those around you:
- Smile as much as possible, especially at those you interact with
- Remain calm and patient on the phone. If you need to, mute the call and take several deep breaths. Remember, the person on the other hand has probably had a stressful day too!
- Be courteous when driving. It’s not a race, a competition or a death match. Everyone is trying to arrive alive and on time. Help yourself and others to also arrive stress-free.
- Remember the Golden Rule, especially in online interactions. How would you feel if someone commented or posted mean things about you?
- If you wouldn’t say something mean out loud or in person, don’t email/text/post/comment/tweet it online. Words are very powerful.
- Don’t judge a situation by what you see. Think about the other person/people in the situation. Ask yourself: Why are they acting this way? What would I do if I were in their shoes? What problems are they facing? Am I adding to those problems? How can I make this person’s day better?
- Forgive and move on. Holding a grudge is poison to the soul. Find the power within yourself to let go of the mistake and move on. Most of the time it’s not worth the time and energy to worry about. Forgiveness and kindness go hand in hand.
My hope is that we can all develop the beautiful habit of kindness. Remember to be kind to others and kindness will find its way back to you.