On occasion, I have a feeling some people do not trust me. This is preceded by me being nice to them; no different than how I would wish them to act towards me. Yet, it may be the case that in this day and age, acting nice is the exception. We seem to have been conditioned to the notion that if someone is pleasant to us, they surely have a hidden agenda; something they want to gain from us. And that immediately puts us on guard. I am no exception; not on the giving nor the receiving end. This simply sucks.
I put the blame on the calculative mind; a mind that measures and estimates: is it worth my while? What will be my benefit out of anything I say or do? And while this quality is not bad to have, this approach takes away much of our authenticity, spontaneity, of being able to live in the moment. Yet, happiness and fun can only reside in the now. Leading our lives with the permanent presence of the calculative mind, ends up taking away from our ability to be fully engaged. What am I to do? What are we, as a society, to do? We need that mind’s function, but not all the time. Yet the switch to turn it off seems to be hidden, tucked away behind layers of past hurts and pains, of being used and abused.
Here is a path I found. Be warned; while it is very easy, it is also very challenging.
It is the path of giving and kindness; giving and kindness in the face of whatever response we shall receive. It is that simple and that complex. Easy, because all one needs to do is care. Difficult, because the calculative mind is likely to protest, raise suspicions, and may even fume. But there is really no other way. This giving attitude is effortless when the receiving party acts the role: smiles back, projects honest pleasure, kindly accepts. But often the response may be a fake grin, a rude gesture, a show of suspicion, distrust, or simply being ignored. When that happens, such a reaction may threaten to take the wind out of my sails. What I then remind myself, is that the sun is not affected by the passing clouds. If I want to give light, I cannot tell myself – heck, today is a cloudy day; I may as well take the time off. No, shine we will, shine we must. Giving, I have learned, had been shown, is not for the recipient; it is for the giver. It is actually a very egoistical practice. In unconditional giving, the sort that carries no hidden agenda, there is limitless receiving.
What to give? Not much. While saving hungry children in Africa may be a noble cause, smiling at a complete stranger would suffice. Complimenting a barista for a coffee well made, holding the door open for others, anonymously donating to charity. Small acts of kindness lead to larger happenings; and those, in turn, may snowball into social change. I can go on and on, bring up Jesus and the other cheek, Mother Theresa, Gandhi. But no need for such names that are larger than life. All I need to remember is that being kind is the best medicine I can prescribe for myself. And if it helps others too, all the better!
Learned from: exploring my feeling at a sense of distrust in the face of kind giving.