The Sunday Edition
I believe in the inherent basic goodness of all people and in our potential for unconditional giving and loving kindness. And, I long for authentic connection: no games, no hidden agendas. At 64, I am acutely aware of my time on this planet and I reflect on the contribution I want to make. In the last few months I started posting poetry on IG: a new creative exercise for me and an experiment in using my voice. I am aware of the “follow for follow” game and I wonder at the postings highlighting generous acts and I hope the recipients are experiencing a genuine benefit. It’s easy to see ego at play; I get caught in it too. We all want to be seen and validated. We also want connection. I too hope we move towards being a kinder race. And hope and intention is not enough. I don’t know what the answer is. Platforms like this one have the potential for creating needed authentic dialogue. Thank you Tyler. And in the end I am responsible for checking my ego at the door, ensuring I am contributing in ways that foster kindness and being the way I wish the world to be. 🙏
YES! You have hit on it exactly. A friend sent me one such video this week, quite long and taking place in several locations. It was a heart-warming “story” of a jogger who doubles-back to help a man in a wheelchair cross the road, then runs him to a pharmacy to purchase his medication when she finds out he is unemployed and we, the voyeurs, watch him break down crying at the end. At which point I callously wondered, who is filming all this? Who was spontaneously following this jogger throughout all this? Is this just all staged… but for what reason? Maybe this really occurred, but I love your phrase, “ True kindness needs no spotlight”.
You have perfectly said what I have thought many times! I really abhor the trend myself, and I am more and more disliking social media for how commodifying it has become.
"...believing all the while in the light"...YES x 1,000. True kindness is not a commodity.
I agree, and I guess I also feel about this the same way I feel about "good" zoos -which is that, although I see the exploitation, I also hope that it encourages everyone to pass it on and do good themseleves (or in the case of zoos - save the planet and the animals). I don't want to get into a huge argument about the merits of zoos - I just recognize the good in the world of zoos such as the SD Zoo and Animal Park that do a lot of restoration and breeding programs (and highlight always the pillaging of the earth and what we can do to save it). So, I get your consternation and share it (and to be clear have never participated in such a video)...but I do hope it is the "see one, do one," effect that would support people who view them to do good as well?
These videos seem to be carefully orchestrated for maximum dramatic effect, sometimes with a blindfolded "recipient" holding a stack of cards with the story written out and told as each card is dropped slowly dragging out what could be a 2 minute event into interminable drama. I can't watch these; you want to share your story, get to the point. I also have issue with the ones highlighting help for the homeless, disabled, elderly, etc. because even though the context is supposedly to set an example and encourage others to do the same, 99% of viewers are never going to leave their couch to extend their own kindness in turn. Glamorizing someone's time of need for personal gain is narcissistic. True kindness is given when no one is looking, it is from the heart, and speaks to the character of the giver when they want NO accolades or acknowledgement in return.
I read this years ago and your post brought it to mind:
"The first degree is miserly giving. This is when we give away that which we no longer want. It is considered miserly because giving in this way asks nothing of us. This sort of giving is like recycling, and it is valuable but not particularly generous.
The next level of generosity is kindly giving. With kindly giving we give away what we would like to receive. There is a thoughtfulness and friendliness in this kind of giving.
The third, and highest, form of giving is kingly giving. In kingly giving we give the very best of what we have in time, material goods, or, in some cases, even our lives."
I grabbed this quote from wordpress.com. Essentially, all giving is inherently good regardless of the motivation.
I work in the hospitality industry in Hawaii. Everyone I know in this industry has been shocked lately with the flood of people who are belligerent. We are so tired of this but I decided that after I am back at work this next weekend, I will make it a challenge to myself to overcome the cranky and rude, and try to make them smile. I hope I can. The play acting I see and oversharing on social media turns my stomach. Who knows what another goes through...do we have a right to broadcast it? As I may have mentioned, there was a man lying on the cement near my home, and my daughter and I saw him. We turned our car around and went to him. He had a back injury and had fallen and had been there 6 hours!!! No one had helped them because they saw the small bottle of vodka next to him and made assumptions. We got him help and walked away after he was on his way home with loved ones. But did I video him? of course not. He was in such pain both mentally and physically because everyone ignored him - All I could do was hold on to him and he started crying. It broke my damn heart. This was no showcase. If not for the grace of God go I.