I notice that when I use one of these older common phrases, where the word “kill” or “die” (this pasta is ‘to die for’) is in it, I cringe a little. But I heard myself use the phrase “kill ‘em with kindness” just the other day while talking with someone about their own challenges with a mutual acquaintance.
The short backstory is that I had a neighbor who is considered by many in the neighborhood to be difficult on many levels. Most people avoid her. After meeting me for the first time, she launched an interesting grenade at me verbally that told me either 1) she was nuts, 2) she was afraid, or maybe 3) a little of both. In any case, I decided not to react and instead to treat her with as much kindness as possible. Long story short, we ended up having a very friendly 2 years of interactions, I came to appreciate what an intelligent and interesting person she is, and when I moved away she said she would really miss me around. A far cry from how we started. I think it was a test for both of us.
Fast forward to my conversation with the person who said he tried to avoid her like the plague, and it got me thinking more about the subtle dynamics of this choice to kill ‘em with kindness, and what it means to take personal responsibility.
When we get triggered by someone, we are immediately dropped into a zone where we confront all of our pre-conceived notions and judgments about behavior, and our perceptions of right and wrong. We personalize someone else’s behavior as an attack on us and either fight back with verbal reaction or we avoid them. Adding to that, if we hear others say the same thing about someone, we build an even stronger case against them. But all this causes us a measure of suffering, though we may not realize it. Every time we see them, we bristle and assume we will have a negative experience. We become victims of our own thinking, not claiming dominion over our own experience. We short-circuit any possibility of having a more meaningful interaction for everyone’s sake. We remain static in our minds rather than dynamic in accessing something that feels more satisfying to us. If we are to feel free, we have to reach this dynamic state. Static thinking, which breeds assumption and myopic perception, just creates suffering for us.
One of the ways I have found most effective in accessing this dynamic state is by choosing respectful kindness with someone. It’s incredibly disarming for them, you can see it on their face. They might be accustomed to and even feed on conflict. They might in fact be using their way of being as a defense mechanism to gain power because they feel powerless…it’s not even about you. By killing them with kindness, what you are “killing” is the vibrational power of againstness, and choosing to interact with something more open, free, friendly, dynamic, maybe even transformational for all concerned. Plus, it just feels better. Conversely, if you really enjoy hanging out in conflict with others, you might take a look at that and ask yourself why. Bottom line, we are responsible for our life energy and what we choose to hang out in with others. It’s not their responsibility to choose for us. Taking full responsibility for our life experience means we choose for ourselves, we don’t let others make that decision. We can allow ourselves to be influenced by that which inspires us, but again it’s our choice.
Killing with kindness to me simply means I get more curious, I give someone space to listen to themselves act out while I respect them, and I let them feel deeply that I am not going to get caught in their negative vortex, that I’m taking responsibility for me. The effect is pretty amazing. It is transformational. It connects people. It’s the vibrational cream on top. It’s almost better than…well, you know…
Happy Fall to All, Melanie
If you would like to learn how to masterfully develop your Kindness Quotient, please reach out to me at email@example.com, or visit www.innertegrity.com/sessions for a complimentary consultation.