some notes on kindness after a failed birthday surprise and a successful birthday dinner

sometimes life becomes too fast to keep up with, but you must endeavour to remember your own agency and the effect your actions have on others, always.

  1. be conscious of your phone usage. minimise it when you are with your loved ones — savour the moment while resisting the compulsion to document it. if posting, keep your phone away immediately after.
  2. always always always try until your very limits and then some to be KIND. the greatest battle in life is the one against meanness and betrayal of one’s friends. it doesn’t matter if they betray you: understand this first. try your very hardest not to betray them. not to give up so quickly. the guilty voice inside you should serve as an indicator of how to act in future circumstances. to give in to meanness = to deny the same complexity & humanity in others that you hope they would afford you.
  3. allow anxious thoughts to come and go more freely without latching on to any of them. no reason to do so.

it may seem hard when other people do not align with how you’d like them to be–may seem hard when you have to try to understand and like a person rather than to get along with them immediately, but the battle is worth it. if not for their sake, then for your own. i can’t afford to give in to meanness anymore because of the guilt i feel after. even with —. i do feel guilty for not talking to her, not being able to look her in the eye. and i don’t want this guilt: i want to know that i have tried my best and take comfort in that.

funnily, even though i had such a lovely evening, i have come home racked with anxieties. the people i love, my friends, rack me with anxieties because i always feel that i’m not doing the very best by them as i could be. the people i love make me want to be kinder, better and more respectful with their trust, their hearts and their personhood. remember love always always always. it seems sometimes like you need to cultivate other aspects in order to fulfil your potential as a human being–cultivate ambition, cultivate a strong personality, cultivate hardworkingness–but LOVE is the most important.

love is the best thing in my life right now: love is what i am unconsciously striving for, all the time, after everything else. love is necessary, absolutely fundamentally life-threateningly necessary. for a while i’ve been thinking that all the other things i mentioned were necessary, but at the very end love is the most necessary of all. the steadfastness to remain loyal to your friends and not easily betray them, the patience to respect another person’s journey and insecurities, the endurance to tolerate and endeavour to find meaning & complexity in the instances when they fail to be what you’d “prefer” them to be. life is long… and there are 7 billion & counting people in the world. this is the only thing that matters.

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Published by Ellen Lee

an arts & culture writer based in KL

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