We forget to be human.
It is an easy thing to do.
We are constantly seeking and expecting a reward, an acknowledgement or some form of reciprocation. In our goals, we are driven by its rewards. In our relationships, we operate on the basis of receiving the love and effort we nurture and express in them. In our hustle, we are motivated by the multiplication of wealth in all its forms.
It is not to say the list of things mentioned are in poor taste. Rather, its shiny and glossy winnings hinder our expressions of conducting ourselves as decent human beings. We engage and come across such unkindness that when five percent of decency is shown towards us, we mistake it as fifty or maybe even eighty percent of what it really is.
We are continuously seeking to be loved and to be cared for that we forget to love and to care. To love ourselves, to love our friends, and our family–for the sole privilege of loving. We are so fixated on what the others can do for us that we miss out on being the ones giving. Without expectations. We forget to be kind, decent human beings.
Just pure kindness from one healing soul to another.
We have lost our ways. We are unable to function without, either consciously or subconsciously, the premise of: ‘what will I receive in return for my time and effort?’. Mind you, it is not an invalid question. Know your worth. Your energy, your soul; and you should not have to ask for respect to be respected. Nor should you have to beg to be appreciated, acknowledged, and loved. However, we should not move forward or be further encouraged by the notion of: ‘what can they do for me?’.
A complete stranger expressed more decent kindness to me than those I held dearly over the summer. One night. One moment. One feeling. In living that moment, it did not feel like pure kindness. It felt like magic. A scene from a black and white film, Lover by Taylor Swift, and Alex Turner’s Love Letter to Alexa Chung all in one.
I ran to him. He listened to my distress on an eight-hour-time-difference, halfway across the world. On more than one occasion.
I mistook that for investment. Some form of reciprocation. The truth is, he showed up for me because I needed it. He did so out of being human. Understanding that a person, any individual, sometimes needs a space or person to run to, and he most certainly did not have to do so. A field of rare kindness this stranger showed me. Yet, not rare at all.
A friend of mine did not react as enthusiastically as I had when I shared with her this stranger’s kindness. Instead, this was what she said:
‘That’s just being a decent human being.’
It is so interesting how effortlessly unaware you become of such unkindness and disservice that any dim lighthouse will seem to shine brighter than its reality. It is also funny how your brain and your body can grow so accustomed to unkindness, that a shred of the opposite feels more than it really is: the bare minimum.
I wondered, then: how often do we forget to be kind to one another? How often do we forget to show kindness to ourselves?
We are human beings. We love to be loved. We love to be cared for. Yet we do not care for ourselves as much as we should or about others as much as we can. In the age of social media, we have limited ourselves to displaying only our successes, our triumphs, our happy faces. We express what we deserve, which is again a positive right, but in that, we forget to be human.
We do deserve kindness. We do deserve to be respected. We most certainly deserve to be appreciated. However, it is difficult to achieve that when we are too busy demanding it from others. We need to start with ourselves. Show kindness to our bodies, to our minds, to our mistakes. We forget to be human with ourselves that we forget to be human at all.
Being human is a complex and messy thing. We cry, we laugh, we hurt, we love. All in all, we crave to connect to another soul. To be heard and to be embraced. We need to start with ourselves.
Be human. Behave like a human. Respect, appreciation and mindfulness is the bare minimum for ourselves and for a stranger.
We are only as human as how we express kindness. There is beauty in the raging storms. Practice kindness. Choose softness. Teach yourself how to be human, how to be the one to give for yourself and to yourself. It is in that ripple we teach others how to respect, appreciate and love us.
Written by Puteri Izzaty
Views expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not necessarily represent the position of UNM IGNITE.