You cannot rely on the kindness of others, without yourself being kind.
In my variety of roles (yoga instructor, physio assistant, receptionist) I see a variety of people and so much of what I learn and write is from them. And in these various roles the thing that I learn the most is the importance of kindness. It is the backbone of costumer service and the thing that can mean the difference between a good day and a total shit day for the consumer or the person providing the service. The most recent reminder was from a long-time patient at the clinic. She is 86, very arthritic, and completely reliant on the kindness of others. Her ego prevents her from getting an appropriate walking aid so she must cling on to any available body to get from place to place. She has volunteers do her grocery shopping and a cab driver that has agreed to take her anywhere she needs to go for next to nothing. When she comes in to our clinic about twice a week she is usually complaining about something. The weather, parking, the volunteers that help her, but always her driver. Most days he brings her up she is yelling at him about something he did and if he is even 2 minutes late picking her up she gets mad at him. As an outsider it appears like (lets be honest I could be way off base) she treats him like her slave. About a week ago her cab driver told her that at the end of the month he doesn’t want to drive her anymore and he didn’t know anyone that would be able to take over for him. It may seem cruel but after years of taking her everywhere while being treated like a second class citizen I am not surprised he needs a break. Now she is continually distraught over the fact that she won’t have a driver come summer time but refuses to use any other service because they won’t do anything extra for her and still treats him badly.
*** An important thing to keep in mind is that for some people mental health issues such as dementia can be a factor (although in this situation I believe it to be more related to race and class) and the true lesson is that kindness and gratitude should always be put forward regardless of actions towards ourselves. *** And own personal lesson in this situation is most definitely continual awareness. We can easily get distracted with cellphones and our own personal issues when dealing with people. Or if someone has been doing something for us for a long time we can forget to be appreciative or not realize the favor at all. Just like love, when you give kindness you get kindness.