A couple of weeks ago I had a melt down at work and went home. Later on my line manager emailed me about something else. I replied, thanking her for her kindness earlier. Her reply to this was, 'Human beings are kind generally - nothing special about me being kind.'
This made me think. I would like to believe that human beings are in general kind but this has not been my experience. If people are, on the whole, kind then why does kindness stand out so much when it occurs? Is kindness really the default position of humanity?
I remember a session I had with the serial killer a couple of years ago. I don't think I've written about it before but it was a significant turning point in our relationship. I can't actually remember what we were discussing (I rarely remember what we discuss, I have some sort of safety forgetting thing going on). But then I asked her, 'do you want to hit me?' She seemed horrified at the idea and said no. This was the first time that I had realised that she didn't want to hurt me. It seemed to change the whole world on it's axis.
At that time I was still seeing JC, my case worker. I asked her at my next appointment if she wanted to hit me. She was very perplexed at the idea. It seemed to distress her that I would think that. I also asked Fr S and he was honest and said that sometimes he got frustrated with the way I thought but he never, ever wanted to hurt or harm me in any way.
I presume that people are going to hurt me until proved otherwise. It takes a very long time for me to believe that they will not. Only very few people fall into the category of safe and it takes a long time and a lot of trust for that to happen. I don't believe people will be kind to me, for me kindness is something that is only there to cover up the inevitable screwing over that will occur.
Maybe that's why I'm so cynical - I think the whole world is out to get me. When written down that seems incredibly paranoid but my early experience was that people were out to get me, hurt me and screw me over. I see my nephew and niece completely trusting the world - people in their world are kind. They love them and they are secure in that. I am extremely jealous of this as it isn't anything I've ever experienced.
Do I believe that people in general are kind? No I don't. If people were, then individual acts of kindness like those of my line manager would not stand out so much. But I think that people are generally better than I imagine them to be. I think my early conditioning has led me to be far too cynical about the world. Maybe I should give humanity more credit.