A Thought to Live By

Something Shocking and Enlightening from The School of Life

We are alarmingly, and almost limitlessly, sensitive, by which is meant, hugely unconvinced of our own value, of our right to exist, of our legitimacy, of our claims on love, of our decency and of our capacity to interest anyone in our pains and in our ultimate fate. We need kindness so desperately – even its tiniest increments (a door held open, a compliment on a biscuit, a birthday remembered) – because we are, first and foremost, permanently teetering over a precipice of despair and self-loathing. The impression of grown-up self-assurance is a sham; inside, just beneath a layer of competence, we are terrified and lost, unsure and unreassured – and ready to cling avidly on to any sign, however small, that we deserve to continue.

We become properly invested in being kind

when we realise the power we possess in most situations to rescue another human from self-contempt. We start to be kind too when we realise how much we need others to be kind to us. It isn’t an obvious thought.

The Need for Kindness

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