When you think of someone who is kind, what qualities do you think of? Friendly? Generous? Considerate? Do you envision a meek and soft-spoken person who puts others before themselves? Is a kind person quiet and sweet? Because, guess what? I am neither soft-spoken nor quiet.
I am sassy, opinionated, loud, and boisterous.
And yet, recently several people have complimented me on how kind I am. And I felt uncomfortable. Like really uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I was flattered by their compliment. But I felt uncomfortable. “I’m not kind,” I thought in my head as I verbalized gratitude for their compliment.
The compliments were triggered by people learning I had made a meal for someone who recently had a baby, or learning that we opened our home up this summer to two different individuals needing a place to stay for various reasons. Or after I dropped off coffee drinks for everyone at my husband’s office. Everyone kept saying how kind I was. And I kept feeling weird about it.
“I’m too sassy to be kind. I’m not sweet enough to be kind.” Those were the thoughts running through my head. It really got me thinking.
“Does someone need to be quiet to be kind?”
I began creating a list in my head that included friends who I think are kind. Many people on my list are equally sassy or share a similar level of snark as I do. And yet I felt they were kind. Why couldn’t I view myself that way?
It challenged me to think about the box I might be trying to put myself in. Or the box I might put others in. Kind is not quiet. It can be, but the volume with which you live your life is not what determines your kindness.
Kind can be sassy. Kind can be cautious. Kind can be meek. Kind can be loud.
My son recently started playing soccer with a local city program. During a scrimmage on the first night one of the coaches blasted a soccer ball right into his chest. It was simply a “wrong place, wrong time” situation. I could tell the coach who kicked the ball felt terrible. The other coach, who had been loudly spurring the kids on all evening with encouraging words walked over to my weeping son, got down on his level, and proceeded to comfort him loudly. “You got this buddy. Are you okay? How does it feel? Do you need any help. I’m proud of you buddy. You did a nice job blocking that shot. You alright buddy?” She was talking loudly and yet every word that came out of mouth was hugged in kindness, sincerity and care.
Kind is not always quiet.
So, the next time someone compliments you on your kindness and you second guess yourself in any way, remember that kindness comes in many different forms, with various levels of sass, and at many different volumes.