The right to bear kindness

Fred Cavaiani

There is much controversy right now. It seems as if we are in a national frenzy over the right to bear arms. The anxiety over the fiscal cliff is right behind. The struggles in our Congress keep us confused. We live in a system where the best and worst of human nature can claim a right to be condemning, judgmental and infallible. Politicians can be elected because they cater to the far left where everything seems permissible or to the far right where God is used unfairly as a backup to justify almost anything. The common sense of the middle viewpoint which can understand the far left and understand the far right but not accede to their authoritative demands seems to be losing hold. There is an old Latin proverb that states: In medio stat virtus. (Virtue stands in the middle.) Maybe we need this now more than ever.

All of us possess the inalienable right to bear kindness and compassion toward everyone. This kindness and compassion starts first in how we talk to other people. When we speak with absolute authority about what we personally judge to be right and wrong without a thorough understanding of other people’s viewpoints, we stifle compassion and understanding and progress.

The right to bear kindness is to listen to the feelings behind viewpoints. It is a decision to understand the inner feelings of other people. It is to ask others to explain what is underneath their viewpoints and decisions. The right to bear kindness is to continue to be loving and kind toward others even when they are unwilling to tell us what is really going on inside themselves.

The right to bear kindness is the decision to bring compassion to all facets of society. The right to bear kindness is possessing the right to bring permanent changes to a society that wants to fight, argue and condemn. We do this by bringing kindness to the fight, compassion to the arguments, and love to those condemning.

The angrier a person becomes about anything, the more pain he or she is feeling inside. It is this pain that they are hiding. The more worried we become about our society, the more frightened we really are inside. What is the best way to diffuse anger? Love disables and disarms. What is the best way to resolve anxiety and fear? Love will speak to the fear inside with compassion and understanding.

So often we think we have the right to bear judgments and criticism toward everyone. We do have that right but it is a right that never gets us anywhere except more arguments and conflict.

Yesterday, we celebrated a holiday remembering Martin Luther King Jr. He exemplified the right to bear kindness and love toward all yet stood up for wonderful moral principles in a kind, controlled and persistent manner. His non-violent approach to Civil Rights taught the whole country another way to live. He taught us the right to bear kindness.

Yesterday we had the festivities of the Inauguration of President Obama for his second term. Whatever he may or may not accomplish in his second term of office remains to be seen. You and I, however, can accomplish so very much during the next four years. Our accomplishments will take place within our own families, among our friends, at work, and with whomever we speak to on the phone, text message, and share with on Facebook, Twitter, Email or YouTube. It will be the right to bear kindness toward all. The more we exercise this right, the quicker we will see changes right where we live. These changes will be an atmosphere of love and peace. We will meet conflict with kindness. We will overcome hatred with love. We will challenge arguments with compassion and patience. And this will take place right where we live. We will take all the negative energy we have been using up in bemoaning the world situation and transform it into positive, loving energy to transform the little world around us. When this little world gets transformed by us into a more loving and caring world, the larger world will change for the better. The compassion we give to all will begin to seep more deeply into politics, religion, and even other nations. It all starts with your little world right now. Peace comes through love. Happiness comes through giving. Joy comes through surrendering our arms of condemnation and judgments and bringing compassion and kindness to all. Is this idealistic? Nope. It is what really works.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is