It's really late right now, and truthfully, it was an incredibly long day for me so I should be heading to bed. However, I had an interesting conversation with two friends this afternoon that's kept me thinking all day long. And now I want to write about it. One of these friends had some wonderful insights that I feel are very applicable to my life, and she shared with me some wisdom I needed to hear, which I'm now hoping to pass on to you.
At lunch today we were talking about an email conversation between two of her friends. One friend received an email from another which elicited a defensive response and then it went back and forth. In retrospect, her friend said she wished that instead of getting defensive and firing a response right back, she wished she had been kinder about the whole situation and then it wouldn't have spun out of control.
The three of us started talking about that concept--she told us that the relationships that have meant the most to her are the ones where after she's felt at conflict with someone, she's able to apologize and the relationship is better for it vs. times when she pretends nothing is wrong so nothing gets resolved. We also talked about the little things we do every day to bother people and how silly this is.
I've always been someone that most people would consider as "nice." (I learned in one of my classes in college that nice tends to be a dishonest "I'm just accommodating you because" kind of trait, so I prefer to be known as kind, just as an FYI. In fact, sometimes it grates on my nerves that people classify me as "nice" even though I know they mean it sincerely and in a kind way.) I'm a kind hearted and compassionate sort of person, and I have plenty of faults, believe me, but kindness has always been a strong part of my character.
Although I don't feel I have completely departed from this, I feel like in letting myself become sassier and bolder, that I have let some of the kindness go. I am prone now more than ever to insert snarky little comments when it would be better if I just left well enough alone. Then I congratulate myself for having "spoken my mind" and "let people know how it really is" even in a small way. Almost immediately I feel the regret of saying something unkind which you can't take back and I groan that I've done it once again!
While I don't believe the comments themselves are going to make or break somebody, I do believe I am being unnecessarily unkind. I remember instances with good friends when they said some offhand comment not meaning to upset or hurt me, and I can still remember those little jibes. I'm ashamed to think that I'm letting myself become that type of person. I don't want to be the person who runs around saying things that are hurtful to people just because I can. Nobody likes being around someone like that, and I know better! I'm also resolved to not be so prideful and do my best to immediately apologize to someone where offense has been given. I've done it a couple times in the last few weeks, and although it was hard, I believe I am a better person for being willing to admit I was wrong and taking steps to make it right.
I'm going to end with a quote from President Hinckley. I remember something he said about letting us all be kinder to each other at the closing of general conference a few years ago, but I can't find the exact quote. Since it's so late, I don't really want to search for it. This one still conveys the message. I hope you enjoy it!
"There is no end to the good we can do, to the influence we can have with others. Let us not dwell on the critical or the negative. Let us pray for strength; let us pray for capacity and desire to assist others. Let us radiate the light of the gospel at all times and all places, that the Spirit of the Redeemer may radiate from us."