Instead of being what you are — unkind — you pursue the fictitious opposite put before you — kindness. To emphasize what we should be, only causes strain, giving momentum to what we already in fact are.
It’s one of life’s bitter ironies that one of the first things lost to moral certainty is the capacity for compassion. Righteousness is a cold, hard position, and an unshakeable one. It allows no room for one of the most basic tenants of human existence: doubt. Faith exists not in counterpoint to certainty but to doubt. And those in religious institutions who wish to commune with their fellows must never lose sight of the fact that doubt defines and binds us. Few of us have the capacity to defend a position of uncompromising certainty.
When it comes to loving and being loved, even the most jaded and worldly often feel deep insecurity. That’s true even when we’re in happy relationships. If we can find some comfort and direction in a mega-best-seller with a tacky cover, so be it. For those of us who hope to grow merrily old and saggy and gray with our beloveds, it’s a reminder that packaging isn’t everything.