Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Choose Love or Kindness

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Sep 13, 2013 12:00 AM

I listened to an NPR interview of a children's book author, RJ Palacio, who wrote in "Wonder" about showing kindness to people who are different from us. She paraphrases the old saw, if given a choice between right or kind, choose kind. I say, choose love, which is usually kind, too, but may not look it. Like my ramblings about tough love and not enabling bad behavior in other blogs, I want to remind everyone that sometimes the need for kindness is obvious, as when someone suffers alienation for no good reason, but sometimes the most loving way to deal with someone who is misbehaving is to crack down and cause repercussions which teach.

Hopefully, the person learns enough to want to change. For example, being kind to a bully may reinforce the bad acting. He may think the niceness is out of fear and hang on to power. Challenging the bully, giving him something to lose, may shake up his narcissism and cause some pause. Rejection has its place. Going to jail to think things over after a life of crime has its purpose. It's important that the consequence fit the crime and be mild enough to be thought-provoking without creating extreme anger and desire for revenge. As with everything, balance counts. So, let's be kind and loving and not reinforce terrible acts.

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