Kindness

Henry James - Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
  • Kindness as epistemic humility: You don’t know what people are going through.
    • First: Don’t be surprised at how different other people are from you
      • Sam Hinkie reflection on ambition after reading Robert Caro books: If you want something like the presidency (or being a billionaire) you should presume there is someone out there who will devote all of their time, money, relationships, sense of ethics—everything— in sacrifice of that one goal. Of course that person would win that race.
      • Jonestown massacre, cults, and Nazis
      • Psychosis
      • Patriarchy of Afghanistan
    • Hanlon’s razor
    • Never forget we are multitudes (again, accept these tensions. The quest for coherence is more costly than the benefit). Turning this logic outwards is a form of charity. For example, I am both vain and can tolerate criticism of my appearance because I can use that as a catalyst. And yet I would not take the liberty to assume another would respond as I would. Criticizing others’ appearance is off limits to me unless I was thus invited earnestly.
    • Intention vs Impact
      • “There's a difference between someone actively trying to harm you and someone’s specific constellation of shortcomings being harmful to you” - Lucy Dancyger
        • Strength says: ”Let me be your punching bag. Let all the hate out on me. Be better to the next person.”
  • How kindness to yourself will unlock you: acceptance
    • There is no single answer to your life. There is no single best “you”. There are many possible great satisfying lives that you can have and you never actually know about the ones you didn’t get a chance to try so we’re all getting partial credit on essay questions, not right wrong on true/false on all the big issues of life.  Once you accept that this is the nature of being a human being you can say “how’s it going today?” and the answer is “it’s going reasonably well. And that’s fabulous because this is as good as it gets.” — Dave Evans
    • Satisficing: “burn bridges” to make certain decisions irrevocable. [Me: This makes a lot of sense to me bc FOMO is an energy suck. I tend to satisfice on everything that doesn’t hold major meaning to me — if I’m like 70% sure that product X will tick my boxes I just buy it and move on. I don’t care enough about my TV to spend a week in analysis paralysis about how deep the blacks are. But if I were a cinephile I might.]
    • “Gravity problems”: These are unactionable problems. They are still issues but if a problem cannot be acted on it’s not so much a problem as it’s a circumstance . Like gravity.As soon as you realize your problem is a gravity problem, that it’s not actionable the way it’s currently framed , you can unfixate from it.
Kindness as self-reliance
(This idea is personal because of my own experiences.)
“put your own mask first before you help others”
I've dealt with people who decline help but really need it. They think you are doing you a favor but actually allowing themselves to be led to water would have been a kinder thing to do than pretend that their short-term impositions aren't just going to compound into a future debt that you will be liable for anyway.
If you need help, seek it. If you are offered help sincerely, especially by someone who can see that you need it, accept it. And honor it by listening.
Be self-reliant. Don't let life have its way with you. You always have a choice. The choices can be bad or hard but you have a choice. Waking up is a choice.
By taking care of yourself you have the capacity to care for others and you are less likely to exhaust someone else’s capacity.