A Response to Unkindness

When people are unkind to us for no apparent reason, it gives us the opportunity or learning, even though everything in us might scream for justice. I know from experience that when someone is spiteful or malicious, or just has to criticize everything that we do, it is hard not to respond – especially when, like me, we can think up a wonderful cutting reply, but it is important that we do not allow such unkindness to bring us to a place where we lose our peace. There will always be unhappy people trying to bring others down, but we must hold on to love.

Bree Barton, on the website tinybuddha.com says

…we all have a choice to be kind, and we are presented with that choice many times a day.

She also quotes Kahil Gibran as having said,

I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind.

How true that is if only we think before we respond.

In fact, we have a choice about how we respond to any hardship or difficulty in life, although it doesn’t always feel like it at the time. As Camilla Downs says in her blog on how to respond to unkindness,

I am abundantly grateful for life’s uncomfortable lessons and the masterful teachers disguised as those whom we choose to let push our buttons.

We cannot change the other person, or how they choose to see us, we can only change our attitude. She goes on to recommend that we silently send them love and blessings. Walter Savage Landor once said

Kindness in ourselves is the honey that blunts the sting of unkindness in another.

Of course, meeting unkindness with kindness doesn’t work in a situation where bullying is taking place. The long term effect of bullying is too important to brush aside and therefore bullying needs to be addressed, but wherever possible, we need

to remember that,


A soft answer turns away wrath.

Proverbs 15v1