April Jeppson: Continue to choose kindness when you can
Published 8:45 pm Friday, November 4, 2022
Every Little Thing by April Jeppson
I will admit that I’m not very good at recognizing that someone needs help. Often, I don’t even think of it. Sometimes people need to vent or don’t actually want assistance, they just need a friendly ear or a hug. I don’t like overstepping my boundaries, and I really don’t want to encourage passive aggressive behavior. If someone needs something from me, they’re going to have to ask.
But once they ask, it’s only a matter of moments before I put the wheels in motion. Maybe it’s something small like lending them a piece of clothing for their grandmother’s funeral or covering their shift at work. Perhaps it’s organizing a month worth of meals delivered to their home so they can grieve. Or maybe it’s wiring them money so they can afford the down payment on a townhome and finally get out of their toxic relationship.
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I’ve been warned, a lot, that nice people sometimes get taken advantage of and I need to be careful. Sometimes I’m being kind, and people perceive it as an opportunity to fool or trick me. I’ve learned some lessons, but I don’t want a few bad experiences to harden me.
Being used hurts. It’s a bummer when you thought someone was worthy of your time and energy. It breaks my heart a little when I realize that someone I believed in wasn’t who they were pretending to be. I have moments when I think, ‘OK, I’m no longer trusting people anymore.’ I’m tired of feeling like this, it’s time to put a harder, more protective shell on my feelings. I need to not get so attached to people and realize that everyone is going to let me down at some point.
Then a few days go by and I remember that I’m not nice to others because they deserve it — I’m nice because that’s just who I am.
I like listening to people’s stories and believing them. I like trusting others and thinking that everyone is trying their hardest. I enjoy searching for the good even in the not so awesome people that I encounter. I am at my best when I’m hopeful and trusting like a child. But when you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you also open yourself up to being hurt.
So occasionally I struggle. Is being nice worth the pain that inevitably comes?
Yes it is.
I want to learn and become wiser, but I don’t want this world to harden me. There are just some people who are going to lie and take advantage of those who are trying to help. There’s nothing I can do about that, and truthfully, that’s such a small percentage of the population. It really isn’t worth my worries. So I’m going to continue to choose kindness as often as I’m able and I hope you do, too.
Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.