The Philosophy of Kindness

Haters Gonna Hate – A Self Portrait

Haters Gonna Hate - Self Portrait - Susan Hicks - 2019 Reprise
Quick self portrait in reaction to endless misperceptions of others.

Look at my self portrait. What is this philosophy of kindness? Perhaps it was how I was raised, or my late mother’s genes, but one thing I always try to do is see the good in others. I do my best to be kind and helpful when I am in the position to, even with folks I may only encounter once. I have met many wonderful people this way. Usually kindness is returned, even if only through a smile that tells everything. I think back on how even small kindnesses in my own life truly helped in the end, even when I didn’t always recognize them at the time. Sometimes this philosophy backfires, but that’s life.

As shown in my self-portrait from 2017, this approach often gets wildly misconstrued by folks who haven’t cared to know me well. Read the writing in the drawing and note the contradictions. People see what they want to see. Read the quote on the right from Ralph Waldo Emerson and know where I stand. A huge part of the “something” that I am involves my philosophy of kindness. A bit of the rest is covered in Forced Restart. My likeness above is distorted. That is a goal of most who criticize. It impresses me that these criticisms came through in the expression of my own shape in this drawing.

My Motives

My motive in being openly complimentary about things I’m truly excited about is an attempt at spreading some positive notions in a currently overtly negative world. I feel it bitterly necessary when so many people senselessly beat others down. Of course I don’t like everything, but I try to encourage and appreciate what is good. There IS actually good in the world.

If I do feel the need to criticize, I still try to be kind, or even clever. My mom’s philosophy strikes again. What good does it do to dwell on negatives? I am not perfect myself. Nobody is. I do not believe we are meant to be. Imperfection is often beautiful in and of itself. Seeing the world this way is a survival technique. Seeing “beauty” is crucial. 

I am willing to overlook others’ imperfections and interact with people I see a spark in. By the same token, I defend solidly against manipulation by those who might be false or even aggressive. Manipulative kindness is not true kindness. This gal believes in truth.

Philosophy of Kindness

In life, you must *somehow* see good and beauty, or your spirit will die. The negativity you project will very likely come back to you in an even bigger dose. If you only see negatives your life will be negative. You must also know yourself to see the true beauty in others. That can be an excruciating process, but it is worth it in the end. That is life.

“Just” a Fan

As an art and music geek, I am curious. I love talking process, simply because it is so fascinating. If anything is spiritual for me, it’s music. As far as teachings go, the Golden Rule is imperative. In truth, everybody approaches things in their own way. Everybody must also find their own way. My favorite experiences as an artist have been the sharing experiences with many talented individuals who I admire. 

I try to operate with humility. Do I believe I’m “all that”? No, nor do I want to be. I do what I do with my art, and if it resonates with someone, all the better. It’s another part of my philosophy. From that angle, I am truly an art fan and a music fan. I am much more likely to cheer on others’ work by word of mouth or social commentary than exclusively drawing attention to my own efforts.

My own efforts are self-driven to provide inner balance in the face of ugliness projected, spewed out, and grinned at by the world. Sometimes I add beauty through my own artistic process. This process lets me more readily concentrate on the good around me. It gives me focus rather than letting me become consumed by the misfortunes and ill influences I face.

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Susan Hicks | Alexandria, Virginia | Thomas, West Virginia

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