I’m all for kindness. It’s a big deal. It’s a gesture of our shared humanity, a nod to how hard things can be. But that’s just it. Life as a human can be hard. So why expect that people be on their best behavior ALL THE TIME? Isn’t the expectation of universal, 24/7 kindness a form of oppressive perfectionism that gets in the way of our humanity?
Sometimes things suck and we can’t spare a smile. I think the world can deal with this. It’s not an affront. I’d rather know reality than a weird sunshine-y rainbow version of your day.
This isn’t meant to be a rant so much as a demonstration of concern. I work with young adults (new adults?) – college students – and there is a culture of positivism that threatens to crowd out real feelings. Being in your early twenties can be a tough time.
Even more importantly, there isn’t a universal experience. Not everyone has had kindness shown to them. Not everyone has had a charmed upbringing. Not everyone feels like the world is theirs for the taking. The culture of positivism seems dangerously like a culture of privilege. Or, a means of denying our full humanity.