Bombs hitting here, but also there and there and everywhere. My heart says it will only spread. Practicing kindness matters, but so does self-defense. The two must be joined if we are going to “Give Peace a Chance.”
EMOTIONAL FITNESS THOUGHTS ABOUT KINDNESS
If you follow my various efforts to share knowledge about staying emotionally strong, you know Practice Kindness is one of my 12 Daily Emotional Fitness exercises. You also know I think most people want to live peacefully in a world that holds kindness as the way to the good life for all. Jerome Kagan, one of my gurus, agrees with me. He notes that people across all cultures want to be caring and fair.
Why then, with most people seeking to live in peace, is the world on the brink of self-destruction? Because, too many in the world practice limited kindness. Caring and justices is limited to their own needs, families, friends, neigborhood, nation or religion. This opens the door to three dangers:
- Enlarging the possibility of kind people becoming a tool for those who use hatred to gain power.
- Making outcasts of others so they can be killed, enslaved or oppressed.
Being kind has as another danger. Kindness leaves you vulnerable to those who prey on others.
Emotional Fitness Tips about practicing kindness safely
Tip two: Stay alert to that fact that many who practice cruelty and seek tyrannical domination love talk of peace and understanding. They see it as a weakness they can use for their purposes.
Tip three: Accept the right of all to defend themselves when attacked. As Frederic Bastiat notes in his 1850 classic essay The Law, “Law is solely the organization of the individual right of self-defense which existed before law was formalized. Law is justice.”
Moreover, Article 51 of the UN Charter states the following: Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of collective or individual self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations…
Tip four: Think clearly about the question of what is meant by self-defense. I see the need to defend myself when someone is attacking me, threatening to harm me, and followup on their threats.
Whether carried out by one person or a known terrorist group, the Boston bombings were an armed attack on America. We are condemned by many power seekers and threatened with harm while more and more are seeking to act on the threats.
Thinking is one of the six major Emotional Fitness Skills. Thinking more carefully about events in the world, the beliefs upon which you base your life. Kindness matters but so does the survival of freedom from oppression. Identifying and standing strong against those who condemn, threaten, and harm others is essential. I think of Hitler and Japan and how different the world would be if their cruelty had not been curbed. I also think of the wisdom of the leaders who practiced kindness when that war was won.
As Abraham Lincoln noted, “I destroy my enemies by making them my friends.”
I believe violence exists because of a failure to touch souls. I also believe the violent have to lay down their weapons before the kind among us can reach out safely.
The world has always had its scary side and there will always be people who \opt for self-interest and cruelty. Be wary, but kind; defend yourself and those you love; fight to the finish, and then be kind.
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Thank you for caring and sharing.
The first and most important: Emotional Fitness Training is a self-help and coaching program. It is not therapy. Nor does it replace therapy when therapy is needed. If the exercises and support provided here do not help you gain control of negative feelings, more may be needed. Support groups, coaching, and therapy are other paths to emotional fitness.
The second: I have dysgraphia, a learning disability that peppers my writing with mis-spelling and punctuation errors. All my books are professionally edited. Not so my blog post. Although I use all the grammar and spelling checks, mistakes slip by. If they bother you, seek another source of support for life’s less savory moments. Life is too short to let problems you can avoid irate you.