The Limitations of Kindness

If we want to be kind, we must know where the boundaries of our kindness are. Within us, we each have a different capacity for kindness. There is a maximum degree to which we can focus our mental-emotional energy on the well-being of others before we overextend ourselves and burn out. Being aware of this capacity, and its edges, is an essential aspect of self-awareness. We owe it to ourselves, and those we are meant to serve, to discover the full depth of this capacity. To live beneath this capacity is to do the world and ourselves a grave injustice. It means not living up to our potential to be loving, helpful, and useful. Living beyond this capacity, however, is just as tragic as living beneath it. Living beyond our capacity for kindness means that we give so much of ourselves to others that we have nothing left, nothing left for ourselves or for those who may matter most. When we cross our own boundaries, extending ourselves beyond the limits of what is healthy, we are no longer able to be kind anyway, and it is all for naught.

Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Artwork by Ana, except where otherwise noted

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