On Kindess and Neil Gaiman

Even though this day was a mammoth improvement over the previous one, I'm still holding firm to the idea that every single person in the world should be required to take (and pass) a course called Life 101: Fairness Is a Myth, but Be Kind Anyway. I'm not entirely sure who would teach it (probably my mom, or Ellen DeGeneres) or where said class would be held (most likely at Chipotle, or possibly on Netflix), but I'm putting together a syllabus and the following piece by Neil Gaiman (yes, I'm fully aware that I will soon have to rename this web log An Online Place for Words Written by Neil Gaiman) is most definitely gonna be taught on the first day.

Sometimes I suspect we are all horrible people. Or at least, we are human people. Same thing. We are impatient, judgmental, irritating and irritated, grumpy, easily offended and the rest of it.

So how to be kinder if it doesn't come naturally?

Fake it.

Fake it a little bit at a time.

Because there isn't actually any difference between doing something nice for someone because you are naturally saintly and perfect, and doing something nice for someone because you are secretly demonic and trying to cover it up. It's still an act of kindness either way, and you still made their lives better.

Smile at people. Say hullo. Ask about their lives. Remember what they've told you about their lives. Do small things to try and help them. (They will not know you are horrible, do not worry. They will just perceive that you are helping.)

Give people the benefit of the doubt. Remember that it's more often stupidity to blame than evil, that everyone can screw up (including you) and what's important is learning from that.

Think "What would an actually kind person do now?" — and do that. Don't beat yourself up when you fail. Just be as kind to yourself as you will be to others — even if you have to fake that.

And good luck.

Also on the syllabus thus far is the one and only rule for the course which is that any person who doesn't pass Life 101: Fairness Is a Myth, but Be Kind Anyway has to get the following quote (attributing it is kind of a cluster) tattooed on their face.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.