Kill them with Kindness.
I was 12 years old when another student spat on my face, I remember feeling so demeaned that I lost all sense of self worth.
I had no respect for myself, and this person was a bully.
I went home, cried, complained, my parents wrote the Principal a letter, and we thought that was the end of it.
Guess what? It made things worse.
Now every other student hated me, because I complained — I looked like an easy target, a coward.
This time they didn’t spit on my face, the tied me around a flag pole and filled my clothes with dirt all the way down to my shoes.
I knew I couldn’t complain anymore.
My parents noticed my clothes and wanted to complain again to the school, even going as far as to request the removal of students from my class entirely — it was the worse decision we could’ve made.
Eventually, I stopped complaining — I got conditioned into dealing with my problems instead of running away.
It was during this time I read “Down and Out in Paris and London” by George Orwell.
In it is a chapter where Orwell recalls being scammed out of money, he’s broke — alongside his friend who is seemingly angry, Orwell laughs at how clever the plan was.
In this moment of adversity, he finds laughter.
I went about my business in school, not bothering nor complaining, but instead inviting people to bully me.
It was insanity.
No sane person goes up to people who bully them and says “Tie me to that pole and fill my clothes with dirt again, this time make sure the dirt doesn’t fall out”.
Every one laughed, told me to “get out of there, before they beat the shit out of me”.
I stayed, I wanted to see what they’d do — I wasn’t trying to be tough, I wasn’t tough.
I was afraid, but all I had to do was stand there and observe how they’d react.
I even offered to show them how to tie a better knot next time.
“It goes over, not under. Makes it easier for my hands to weave out…”
In this moment they couldn’t bully me anymore, how do you bully someone who shows no sign of suffering — there’s no satisfaction for them.
“Indifference” haunts people. It crumbles their sense of power.
There’s a scene in the film Rocky (I), where Creed has laid down a punishing round to Balboa’s character.
Yet, he stands back up — and Creed suddenly learns to respect him.
It haunts him that this person won’t stay down.
David Goggins cites the scene as one of his most inspiring moments.
You can’t change human nature, people will prey on whom they can find a vulnerability in.
You can’t control what they’ll do and you can’t demand respect.
What you can do is hide your suffering, and not give them the satisfaction — you get the last laugh.
In a moment when they emerge victorious, you laugh — laughter taunts them.
Muhammad Ali would do this constantly to annoy his opponents, causing them to make a mistake.
Years went by and I moved on with my life, it was only much later in an unlikely encounter — at a time where I’d almost forgotten about my days in school, that I would come across the very individual who once spat in my face.
He was washing cars, and I wasn’t a skinny kid anymore — I’d grown much older and looked a lot different now, unrecognisable.
What I could’ve done was been the bully, believe me that was my first instinct — make him feel miserable for his actions.
Instead, I thought I needed to be better than that.
Time had done it’s magic, and the past was no longer what defined me.
Yet the urge to ignore him never left me, I went over and introduced myself.
We chatted, eventually I got him a better job.
The full encounter is one I’ve written about before.
Dealing with a bully — An unlikely encounter.
I haven’t gotten my car washed in a while, and my parents have been complaining about how I need to around to get the…
It was in that moment, kindness became my salvation.
I know all too well life isn’t without adversity, that it’s not all planned out the way we wish for it to be.
But we do have the free-will to how we choose to react, how we churn up our encounters of defeat into fuel for our purpose in our pursuit.
Being the bully wouldn’t have fulfilled me, it would’ve made me a hateful person — whilst for a few measly seconds it would feel delightful, it would later haunt me.
The kindness, well the kindness lives on…
Those acts of kindness are ones we can look back on and remember how we had the ability to be a better version of ourselves when it would’ve been easier to be the worse kind.
Those acts of kindness evolve and develop a life of their own, sending back messages as we go about our lives — of how a simple act of kindness is never forgotten.
Of how a moment of controlling our anger, observing patience, and inner-reflection is a better legacy than one developed through a fainting image of “hatred” and “fear”.