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April 21st, 2020
Is it accurate to be kind? Or is it kind to be accurate? These questions evoke the difficult issue of tough love. Is tough love kind by virtue of its accuracy? Or is it kind to forego tough love and cater to how you know someone wants to feel?
The answer to these questions all depends on your scope of time. Are you acting with short term motives in mind, or are you thinking long term? Each scope of thinking gives you different answers to questions of kindness, accuracy and tough love.
To be kind with short term results in mind, it doesn’t make sense to give someone some tough love honesty. Tough love invariably includes being painfully accurate about something in a way that is likely to hurt a person. But if we think long term, then we understand that short term pain can lead to long term gain. To be kind in the long term means to be accurate in short term.
Accuracy in human relationships just boils down to honesty. We can take a mechanical perspective of human relationships and ask whether the connection between two people is accurate? Accuracy means ‘correct in details’. Clearly, for a relationship to be ‘correct in details’ means that details are being shared correctly between both parties.
Etymology sends us an interesting, perhaps convoluting swing here. Accuracy comes from the Latin accuratus, meaning ‘done with care’. Embedded in the history of this word is a conflation with kindness. Is it not accurate to say that healthy relationships are approached with care? The connections here are either tortured or all too appropriate. To approach a relationship with care means to be accurate. In a roundabout and incidental way, the roots of the word accuracy imply kindness.
The message that arises from the dance of these different words, is that kindness doesn’t just extend to the people we care about, but also to the accuracy of details we share with these people.