Be Nice to People, It Isn’t Hard

I’m feeling frustrated today. I’m feeling frustrated because negativity, anger, and hatred are running ramped through the veins of our little planet and pouring into our hearts, creating darkness where there shouldn’t be.

It’s not an America thing. It’s not a political thing. It’s not a social media thing. It’s just a standard that we find it acceptable to be cruel to people for no reason other than we feel like we want to. From spewing hatred about our current political climate to flipping people off in traffic to talking shit about Becky in Accounting, we make thoughtless choices on a daily basis to treat people poorly.

I am not above this. I am horribly guilty of this all the time. I can think of dozens of examples of times that if I could go back and watch myself acting that way I’d lay a hand on the shoulder of my past-self and say, “Honey, what are you doing?”

No matter how much I make a conscious effort to be kind, I still often fall short. I know, that makes it sound like being kind is the hard choice. If it’s so easy to slip up, then the high road must be the more difficult one to take. However, the more I paid attention to the feelings, the more a realized that the opposite is true.

If someone cuts in front of you in line at the grocery store. You’ll likely feel a rush of rage, wonder how they could be so rude to just blatantly cut the line, say um, excuse me, I was actually in line first and cause them to blush heavily while getting behind you apologetically. Bonus points if you get home and tell your roommate about the rude lady at the grocery store. The other option is to say to yourself they probably didn’t see me and go back to reading the ridiculous magazine headlines on the rack.

Both your days are better because instead of making it a situation, you just realized that in the grand scheme of things this is an absolutely minuscule thing that will effect your life in no way moving forward and there is no reason to ruin the day of another person just because your superiority complex makes you believe that people are cognizant of you at all times so when they wrong you in some way it must be intentional. Phew, and you already thought I was pretty bad when it comes to run-ons.

The point is, it takes a lot less work and emotional effort to be nice.

The other thing that bothers me is when people say, you should be nice because you don’t know what that person is going through. I understand the sentiment, but really, you should be nice because you just should be. To everyone. You should be as kind to the happiest man in the world as you are to the saddest man. Kindness is received well by all. Of course, you might see someone who seems like they need an extra boost of kindness but that doesn’t also mean you shouldn’t be nice to the woman with her dream job, a yacht, and a hot hubby.

I mean, it’s basic freaking knowledge. Ever heard of the golden rule? Of course, you have. We collectively learned this before we even knew how to write. Yet, we’re all still a bunch of dicks. Let’s take a quick survey.

Do you like it when people are unkind to you in either an emotional or violent way in the physical world or online?

A. Yes, I love being embarrassed or made to feel like less of a human being
B. Um….no?

If you picked A then I don’t think this is the right blog for you. However, if you picked B, then, duh. If you don’t like the way that feels then maybe don’t make other people feel that way? I don’t know man. It seems pretty straight forward to me.

To be clear, it is totally okay to disagree with a person or to feel like steel wool is being dragged along the inside of your stomach when someone breaks the social norm, but it doesn’t give you the right to be cruel. Here’s the crazy part. If someone else is the one inflicting cruelty on you or a person near you, you can even stand up against them without dipping to their awful ways. How something makes you feel inside is not easy to control, but how you respond to it externally, is completely and totally within your control.

So, like, don’t be a jerk, okay?

I’ll leave you with the quote by the Dalia Lama that you’ve probably already heard because everyone uses it, but I just really like it, so let me have this.

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalia Lama

It is always possible.

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