Saturday, October 27, 2012

What about kindness?

I have been quite busy lately and my days were very stressful. However, I would never let someone else pay for it. But there seem to be a lot of people that vent their spleen on others.

I was wondering, what about social responsibility, politeness, kindness? Are these values not of importance anymore? Or have they ever been?

There is one of my neighbours (he has an apartment in the same house) who for some reason doesn’t seem to like either me or every woman or every human being. Whenever I meet him, I smile and say hello but the best I did get to hear so far was a grumpy mumbling. Most times he doesn’t reply at all and just gives me a disapproving glance. At the beginning I thought that maybe he was just having a bad day but he keeps behaving like that every time I meet him. One time, he was entering the building right in front of me and instead of holding the door open, or at least pushing it open, he slammed it right in my face.
And this is just one example of strangers behaving unfriendly without any apparent reason.
No one says you have to be a saint. But you really don’t have to be one to follow very few rules of politeness. I mean, even if you had a bad day or don’t feel like engaging in long talks to your neighbours (which I usually don’t even intend), could you not at least reply to a greeting?

I have been reading an excerpt from a book about former differences between liberty and freedom. According to this text, in very short terms, liberty used to be an idea of independence and separation, it was rather a privilege that can be taken away (it is maybe that which we understand as liberty today). In contrast, freedom meant the right to belong to and join a certain group of free people and to care about them, to respect their rights, and it was something that must be given.
These sentences made me think: “In modern America too many people have forgotten this side of our inheritance. They think of liberty as license without responsibility, and freedom as entitlement without obligation. To think this way in the modern world is to remember only half of these ancient traditions.”

I think you always have to be careful about how to interpret any texts about social responsibility as they can easily be misapplied in order to support insane ideologies.

However, what do you think about this? Not only regarding America, but the world in a whole, do you agree?

Not referring to this text, but to the topic in general, this is my point of view : I believe that being polite is very important.
More than that, I believe that we should do something good for others. I believe in kindness, generosity and in sharing joy and happiness.
I really believe that one can do something good for others, even if it is only by means of a smile. (See also this post: Smiling at Strangers) And I believe that, even if it is only a small good deed, it can make a huge difference.
There are people who say that one single person can’t make a difference anyway, that this is all just idealism and that it would be better to just care for yourself.
Of course, my action doesn’t make a huge difference for humankind. But you have to start somewhere, after all. Furthermore, it might make difference for a few people, and even if it does only for one person, it is totally  worth it.

Yes, perhaps, in this regard, I am a dreamer or an idealist. But having dreams doesn’t mean that I don’t know reality, or what seems to be reality. It doesn’t mean that I don’t know about all the horrible things happening on earth. I might be young, but I have made some experiences that I would not wish for anyone to experience and I know that there are happening things that are even a lot worse. So, believe me, I do know reality and I do know that I can’t change it all. But I do also know that there are a lot of opportunities to spread a little joy and to brighten someone's day.
I believe in a lot of things, love, friendship, kindness. I believe in caring families, although I know the "ideal" family hardly exists. I believe in changing lives for the good.

I have hopes and dreams, but that doesn’t mean I live in a world of dreams.


  1. Oh I met so many impolite people but I keep doing the things that I think are right no matter how they behave. I'm also kind of an idealist, I believe any change needs a first step even if it's a small one like a smile or a "good morning" and we can make this world a little better :)

    1. I agree, I think these little things do make a difference and make the world a little better, even if it's only for a few people. :)
      Thank you!

    2. As Tonnomura said, I met and I still meet impolite and really rude people every day. For that I just have to take a walk down the street and almost everyone will stare at me like I am some kind of an alien and thank god for the music in my headphones I can't hear the rude things some of them don't feel ashamed to say. Being different in my country is not very welcomed for that many choose to take shots at me and giving me unwanted advices every time they get a chance such as "you should cut your hair and look like a real man" so far that reason I choose to stay at home between my four walls and I'll know that this way I'll protect myself.

      This is one thing I will never get, people being rude for no apparent or for no real good reason.

    3. Yes, I also meet a lot of rude and impolite people, although not in that extent you mentioned.
      I'm so sorry to hear about that. I really don't understand that either. Being "different" is certainly not a reason to be rude to a person, unfortunately this happens so often.

    4. @Gabriel most of them think they know better and give unnecessary advice. I had kind of the same problem but I just listen to them to see their point of view. I think a guy with lond hair is quite nice but that would be my personal preference lol
      @Kleo I nominated you for an award, details on my blog :) I don't know if it would be something you would like to do but it says to give the award to my favorite blogges so yeah :D

  2. I too believe that we should be kind to others even if they do not return the favour.
    Maybe it good time they will change their bad ways, but we must continue to do what is right.

    Some people also have an austere look all the time but they are really nice people once you get to know them. Others are simply plain rude and thoughtless, by slamming doors in people's faces and not responding when spoken to. Maybe it's because they have problems in their lives and can't deal with it, so it reflects on their behaviour and they are so angry that they do take it out on any person they meet.

    I suggest that you just keep saying 'good morning' etc whenever you see him. One day it may snap him out of himself and realise that someone cares.

    On the opposite side to this, I had an elderly neighbour that I always took the time to chat to and say hello etc. I was being polite.I wished I had not done this because every time I went outside my house for about 2 years, this woman would talk and talk and talk and talk. I could hardly get a word in the conversation. It began to get me down and wear me out. I hated leaving the house because of her. I could no longer sit outside in the warm weather as she would not leave me alone. It was as if she had a radar attached to my door. I began to really loathe her. When I moved house I thanked God.

    1. Thank you RPD! Yes, I think he might have problems that I do not know about, that's why I keep being friendly.
      You're right, maybe one day he will react differently. And after all it doesn't do any harm to smile and say good morning etc.

      Sorry to hear about that neighbour. Maybe she was lonely and because you were friendly to her she always wanted to talk to you. I have seen this a few times, some elderly people do not have any relatives or friends anymore and then they talk to strangers and tell them everything about their lives. There is also one of my neighbors, an elderly man, who seems to be very friendly and always talks to me when I meet him. Unfortunately, I do hardly ever understand him because he has a very strong dialect.
      But I do understand it bothered you that she didn't stop talking whenever you met her.

  3. hmhm..... I think everybody wants to be smiled at. Everybody wants to be appreciated. made to feel a part of something bigger and better.

    Its just that we start to self preserve our emotions so long that -- we forget the need for reciprocation. I think with time again, this can be changed for the better.

    Why should you stop wishing the guy- just because he is not responding. You keep at it. It will grow on him. He will wish you back.

    @ RPD-

    hmhm.... Would it have been better if you would have told her that she was suffocating you!! just a thought !!

    1. Yes, everybody is happy about a smile or someone being friendly, I know that I am, so why should I not do that for someone else.

      I'm not sure that with time this will change for the better, it rather seems it gets worse, but I hope it will.

      I do not stop greeting and smiling at him. Unfortunately, I have been doing that for a year and his reaction never changed. But maybe it will with time.
      Thanks for commenting!

    2. @muthu. It didn't matter what I said, there were times when I was on my way out so I would politely say that I had to go, but this woman would not give it a break. Sometimes I had shopping bags with me but she didn't care. I began to see her as a very selfish person because whenever I tried to speak she would interrupt so she could continue talking. I felt like screaming 'SHUT UP', but I never did.

  4. Your neighbor is just so weird, kind of reminds me of one of my neighbours as well!
    Everyone is okay with me except this one family, the kids are nice but the parents goodness, whenever I used to come back home and the kids happen to be playing outside, their mom will drag them back into the house and give me a death stare, I mean really...what does she think I am going to do?eat them? lol

    But then again, it does not turn me into a bitter person, it feels great to help others and it is nice to know that there are still a lot of people who are kind and friendly in this world. ^_^

    1. That is really weird. Maybe you should try to get them to talk to you so that they can see you are just a normal person. :)

      I'm glad it doesn't turn you into a bitter person! And it definitely is nice to know there are friendly people and I'm always happy to meet those. :)

  5. It's easy to take one's anger and frustration out on others, to mock and scorn. Kindness takes courage.

    1. Kleopatra, I also want to add that you apparently have that courage and it's what makes you the beautiful person that you are.

    2. You're right, it is easy to let someone else pay for one's frustration.

      Thank you so much!

  6. Thanks for sharing matter how bad things might be for should always treat others the way you want to be treated. but they're those who just have a bad heart and its hard not being human and treat them the way they treat you. I always treat people the way treat me. If you dont respect me, Im not gonna respect you in return. But it takes just one person to pay it forward, and hopefully there will be a chain reaction from your positive action to that person who is having a bad day.

    pay it forward,


    thank you for following me...I am back to blogging so hope you stop by my blog when you see my updates!!

    1. I do not always treat people like they treat me. When someone treats me really bad I rather choose to have no contact instead of treating that person equally because I don't want to be like her/him. But a chain reaction from one positive action would really be great!
      Thank you!

  7. thanks for this awesome post Kleo..reading it, i think i'm similar to u in direction of thought so was nodding in agreement to most of your personal opinions. i really like this part "I believe that we should do something good for others. I believe in kindness, generosity and in sharing joy and happiness" cause those are all things i belive in too & itz amazing to find that..hey hey hey..i'm not alone :).

    1. Thank you!
      I'm happy to know that you think the same way. :)
      I agree, it's amazing! :)

  8. If you ask me about those beautiful values that I remember being mentioned by my elders and even got the last teachings of their existence being almost a tot yet, I must tell you that my experiences and that of many persons whom I asked; surprised by the quick loosing of their existence; mentioned the WWII as the initial step to the actual society.

    Most of those persons, sustained that after the end of the war, the survivors looked life in a different way than people before the war did. Primarily there was the feeling that life should be lived since there were many opportunities to lose it. Then the idea of taken advantage of any pleasure life could bring should be snatched and then look around for a moral if any. Just in case there were another 'facing up' since there have been two of them following a few years.

    This attitude does not seem too wrong if you measure the angst and pain humanity had to suffer. The problem was that nobody thought about the outcome of that set of new customs.

    The first display of this was known in USA as Baby Boomers, since 1946 there was a big growth of deliveries in USA and everywhere, it seems as if Nature was trying to balance the huge number of deceased in the war, although may be there are other more pedestrian explanations.

    Coming as partner of this situation there was a trend to "enjoy" life to the utmost. And to feel there was a new psychology to treat adults respect to children and the way children should be "educated". This trend covered the whole world leaving a deep mark of the value of personal ego, as opposite to he "other's personalities".

    While the number of human beings grew on the Earth, and the opportunities started to be fewer and fewer, words as responsibilities, politeness, kindness, respect for older people, and for one another, were loosing meaning in the Western world.

    From then on it is "normal" to find rude people who think they have all the rights and no duties. This new way of life delayed a bit to reach the Eastern world but it is slowly progressing toward a higher standard.

    I guess it must take many years to revert this tendency, meanwhile, it is a way to adapt to circumstances, to avoid people who has not idea of what politeness or sharing of the world means. And if it is possible to be and teach the way to be a correct human being in our own environment.

    I thought most people would agree about the need to regain kindness and politeness, so I decided to make a comment about how historians explain the change that took action around the 60's and changed our lives. I guess that if this things annoy us so much, they must be worse for aged people who can, maybe, remember when politeness was a merit!

    1. I must admit, I didn't think of this as a result of WWII. It already seems so far away to me, although I know it actually isn't at all.

      This attitude makes sense and it is understandable, of course, after what they had experienced.

      It might be true that it must be worse for people who remember these times. I do not know many aged people though, at least not well enough. My parents are not old enough and neither my grandparents nor my great-grandmother, who is now 92, ever mentioned anyhing about that.

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge!!

  9. Sometimes I also can't understand why some people find it so difficult to greet or smile at each other even if they are neighbours. It's just a little gesture which seems to dwindle away in certain society.

    You're right when you said "there are a lot of opportunities to spread a little joy and to brighten someone's day." It depends a lot on our willingness to make the difference in others' lives. We have nothing to lose.

    A nice post, Kleopatra! :)

    1. Yes, it is just a little gesture and wouldn't do any harm and, as you said, we have nothing to lose. So I think it's eays to spread a little joy from time to time and can only be beneficial.

      Thank you! :)

  10. The guy must have an "Achiles heel" on any soft spot in his personality. One day, you can discover what is it that he wants in a friend and you can work from it to start your friendship with the guy.

    "The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people." - Theodore Roosevelt on Relationship quotes

    1. Yes, maybe he has one.
      I wasn't even intending to become friends with him, a little politeness would have been enough. :)

      Thank you for your comment!