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By Anan Tello

Many self-help and mindfulness articles try to convince us that if someone were mean or hostile to us, there must have been some kind of miscommunication because ‘no one is evil.’ 

We also read cliché statements like, “There are no bad people, but people who do bad things” and “they must have been hurt”. Some even have the guts to suggest you must have done something wrong. 

I personally prefer articles that say, “It isn’t about you; it’s about them.”

Let’s admit it; some people are bad seeds and human devils that come in different species. They thrive on other people’s suffering and feed off their pain. 

Nevertheless, that should not be the rule but the exception. When people are hurt, they hurt others, and there will be a long, unbreakable cycle of hurt people hurting other people. Violence begets violence, cruelty breeds more cruelty and negativity is contagious. 

But what if we stepped back for a second and decided to master our minds, own our emotions and take control of our lives? What if we decided to respond to cruelty with kindness?

Imagine you are among mean classmates or coworkers. I know the easiest thing to do is to be meaner and show them who’s the boss, but the easiest solutions are not always the best. 

You might think kindness is a sign of weakness but, in fact, kindness only empowers you. Kindness in the face of cruelty requires so much willpower, patience and strength.

Sometimes it is best to be kind to those who wronged you, whether their reason was maliciousness, fear, pain or miscommunication… and the following are six pros of doing so.

1. Helps you avoid unnecessary battles and even turn an enemy into a friend.

Don’t underestimate the power of kindness. Your kindness in the face of those who did you wrong may make them have second thoughts about being enemies with you. It may also awaken their conscience and make them refrain from further hurting you.

Being enemies with certain people might be tempting sometimes, and the battles get better but trust me; it’ll only drain your energy with time because not every battle is worth fighting. 

When you allow yourself to get dragged into unnecessary battles and win at the end, it might feel good at first, but then you’ll find out it wasn’t worth your time and effort.

Kindness is contagious and reduces emotional distance between people, which is why we like those who are kind to us. 

Therefore, when you respond with kindness, those who did you wrong may soon become your biggest allies.

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2. It is a way of being proactive, not reactive.

By responding to cruelty with kindness, you tell your enemies you will not allow them to have power over you.

Those who are unkind to you most likely want to create tension. They expect you to either respond in a similar manner or shy away from dealing with them.

By being kind, you make a strong statement that you will not allow anyone to dictate you how to feel or how to react, and that your actions are your choices and not anyone else’s.

3. It means you are actually winning the battle.

Some people are rude because as long as you’re classy, they cannot beat you. They want to drag you to their level and beat you with experience.

My mom always says that if you want to beat rude people, wear a smile, be kind, never respond to their rudeness with rudeness and be patient. At the end, you will defeat them. 

Now my mom isn’t the Buddha, but her strategy actually works most of the time, especially when you’re someone who isn’t experienced in scheming.

Your kindness in the face of others’ cruelty will kill them. You will smile as you watch them eat their hearts out. 

For instance, if your coworkers wanted to prove to your boss that you are hostile to them, they won’t get what they want. To their dismay, you will be using their demeanor to prove to your boss that their accusations are false and that there might be some kind of conspiracy against you—if I may call it so—because you’re the angel who treats everyone with compassion.

Make them fall into the pit they dug for you.

4. It attracts more kindness and fights their negative energy.

Kindness is a virtue, and most, if not all, of us have read stories about how good people got rewarded at the end.

It’s a way of emitting positive energy, and the more genuine your kindness is, the stronger your energy gets, which will conquer the negative energy released by cruel actions. 

Moreover, the kinder you are, the stronger the aura surrounding your body will get, and therefore will protect you from the negative energy trying to get you and turn your life into hell.  

By being kind, you attract more kindness into your life. Always remember that you attract the kind of energy you emit, so don’t allow anyone to turn you into a source of negative energy.

5. It is a sign you took responsibility for your feelings and owned them.

When you are kind to others, you tap into something deep and profound inside you, which says, “This is how I choose to feel, this is what I choose to be and this is who I really am. No one has the power to change me.”

Your feelings should be your choice and not others’. You shouldn’t allow others to decide whether you will now feel bitter or happy. A classmate was, say, jealous of your achievements, and so s/he said something really vicious to you in order to make you feel bad about yourself when you should be feeling proud and content, but who said they were unbeatable wizards? Your feelings are yours, and so you must choose whether you want to give others the power to make you feel bad about yourself, or just laugh in their faces and walk away like a champion.

Believe it or not; mean people are among the unhappiest. So if you choose to face meanness with meanness, you are simply choosing to be unhappy, which was a choice not fully made by you, but provoked by those who treated you wrong.

6. It is the most decent way to get back at those who treated you callously.

Yes, you are actually getting back at those mean gossip girls who spread rumors about you by smiling in their faces every morning and wishing them a nice day.

For all the reasons mentioned above, you are defeating and even getting back at those who wronged you by being so kind to them because the best revenge is living happily.

You are telling them they did not hurt you, you are undefeatable, you are not a quitter, they mean nothing to you and your days are relatively as smooth as they usually are.

If those who mistreated you were evil, you are actually killing them with the kindness you radiate.