Monday, August 1, 2011
Ever had one of those days? You know, the kind of day when no one seems to be in a good mood?
The clerk at the store was surly. Your kids grumbled at you in the morning. The guy driving behind you honked and gave you the finger. Your friends seem to be complaining all of the time and the news you hear on TV just seems to be exceedingly bad.
So what is the best remedy for all of this madness?
Just be nice.
I know it is hard. You don't want to be nice. People don't deserve it. It takes effort. People don't respond in kind.
But it is so worth it. Because nice matters. It really does.
Nice is rather boring, I know. All the new "celebrities" popping up on TV tell us that nice is for losers, because they are anything but. Many of the new TV shows that our kids are growing up on celebrate a culture of mean. The popular shows showcase the sarcastic, the wise-cracking and the foul mouthed. We do live in a rather mean culture. And our kids are growing up thinking this is the norm.
Sad, but true.
So, we have to step up. We need to be the model of nice, not just for our kids, but for everyone that we encounter.
Many of us isolate ourselves with a wall of anger or indifference. We think that we are somehow protected that way. But I think that just leads to loneliness. And sadness. And often even despair.
So instead, protect yourself by being nice. Smile at people. Hold the door. Act respectful when someone has a different point of view. Ask people how they are and actually listen when they respond. Hug your kids and tell them you love them when they growl and roll their eyes at you. Speak softly instead of yelling.
Being nice to people disarms them. Makes them pause. I know it never fails to impress me.
So, go ahead, try it. Take one 24 hour day and make nice. See how it makes other's feel. But more importantly, see how it makes you feel.
You may not be able to change the world, but you can change your world. And isn't that really all that matters anyway?
Don't be yourself - be someone a little nicer. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people. ~Abraham Joshua Heschel
Don't wait for people to be friendly, show them how. ~Author Unknown
A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. ~Chinese Proverb