Meditations 11.18 ix
This from a man who had more power than anyone alive at the time, the emperor of Rome with armies and riches and total authority. Easy for him to say, I suppose. Of course, this was written in his private journal for no one’s benefit but his own. Marcus was the man.
Sincere kindness, not for show or put on in some way, is strong and resilient and ultimately persuasive and even healing. Marcus goes on to say this about kindness:
“What can even the most vicious person do if you keep treating him with kindness and gently set him straight—if you get the chance—correcting him cheerfully at the exact moment that he’s trying to do you harm. “No, no, my friend. That isn’t what we’re here for. It isn’t me who’s harmed by that. It’s you.” And show him, gently and without pointing fingers, that it’s so. That bees don’t behave like this—or any other animals with a sense of community. Don’t do it sardonically or meanly, but affectionately—with no hatred in your heart. And not ex cathedra or to impress third parties, but speaking directly. Even if there are other people around.”
I am not impressed with those who try to exert their authority or express righteous indignation or intimidate their way into getting their way. Give me authentic, wholehearted kindness above all.