Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not. ~Samuel Johnson
A friend of mine recently brought up the idea of vindictive kindness. Often people are mean for the sake of exerting power over other people. Sometimes it is simply because they believe they know best, and they believe their rudeness is the best way to manipulate others. Occasionally it is a lack of empathy or simple awareness of their actions’ effects. No one can make us feel any particular way; we can give them that power when we allow it to them. Just for today, choose to be nice, regardless of how anyone else behaves toward you. I take a perverse sort of pleasure in watching people who are trying to make me uncomfortable react to my blasé kindness. Because they are expecting a different response, they get all shaken and uncomfortable themselves. It is true that we should always be kind, not because others are but because we are. However, if you want to watch someone squirm a little, respond kindly when they expect you not to.