Growing up, my mother always told me to “treat others how you’d like to be treated,” and I did. I was kind to whoever I came across. Well, I tried to be.
Sometimes I let my feelings cloud my judgement and I wasn’t as nice as I could’ve been. Working at Lifeline, I saw first hand just how important it is to be kind.
One man had a go at me for not getting him the hair clippers the other day, and instead of reacting and retaliating, I did nothing.
I didn’t say anything, I just let him carry on with what he was saying. Yes, he didn’t say some nice things, but because I didn’t bite back, he stopped. He stopped.
And he didn’t even have to apologise because I knew he was sorry by the look in his eyes. He looked sad, and of course he is, he has a lot going on for him.
The thing is, when people are sad, they sometimes channel those emotions into anger. And when they’re angry, they say things they don’t mean.
It has no reflection on the person they’re saying it to, or themselves, it’s just a coping mechanism. They’re just trying to cope in the best way they can.I didn’t take what this man said to heart.
I knew that he didn’t mean it, and I also knew that it wasn’t true. So I let him carry on until he removed the anger from his system and waited until he stopped.
I didn’t ask for an apology or for him to take back what he said, I just let him take what he needed and let him leave.
I thought that he probably had enough on his plate, let alone being treated like a child and told that he needed to apologise, because the truth is, despite his behaviour, he didn’t have to apologise.
He didn’t have to do anything he didn’t want to. Now, this is a crucial part, this does NOT make him a bad person. Not at all. But do you know what it does make him? HUMAN.
His behaviour makes him human because as much as none of us want to admit, we have all behaved in this way at some point in our lives.
We have all said things we didn’t mean because we were hurting ourselves.
So, no matter who it is, if it’s a homeless person, a friend, a family member, a stranger; be kind and be forgiving, even if they don’t want to apologise.
Life is too short, and you never know when the last time you’ll see someone is.From this experience, I learned that no matter what, you have to be patient. No matter what, you have to be forgiving.
As Louis B Smedes wrote, “to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”