Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Lost Art of Kindness

I don't think I remembered to make any real New Year's Resolutions this year, which is fine.  It ends up being a list of things I never got around to anyway.  And in the same way that  romance can happen on days that aren't Valentine's Day, I think that change can happen on days that aren't New Year's.  Which brings me to my actual point.  

On Christmas Day, while attempting to nap between the many Christmases we had scheduled that day, the TV was already on in the bedroom and I left it on for no reason at all. Even after realizing that I was trying to snooze to the tune of a Joel Osteen sermon, I left it on.  I was being that lazy.  Incidently, after relaying what I'm about to tell you to my grandmother, her response to me was, "Oh, that Joel Osteen...he's not a good man."  Way to miss the point, Grandma.  But I digress.  And in case you feel the same as she does, this is about the message, not the messenger.  

Joel was talking that morning about something that turned out to be interesting enough to keep me from being able to fall asleep, but something that is also not a new concept in any way.  It's just completely ignored.  I noticed it being ignored in a huge way this morning, which is what reminded me of this, and is why I am thinking about it and writing about it now.  MAN, I am rambling today.  On with it.  

When a stranger is rude to you, when someone flies off the handle for what seems like no good reason...when a person is throwing negative energy like daggers in every direction, most people's first reaction is to give them the same thing right back.  It's the easiest thing to do.  Then you end up with two pissed off people, who are probably going to walk away from that situation and spread the attitude around.   Ok, so basically, this is "How To Be a Jerk and Take the Rest of the World Down With You 101." (Obvisoulsy, I am paraphrasing - figured it would seem more natural than UH POWUHFUL SUTHUN ACCEYENT, MY BRUTHA).  But the thing is, no one seems to take a moment to think and realize that they really don't know that person's story.  You have no idea what is going on in that person's life, how they got there, what put them in this horrible why take part in antagonizing that person with your own horrible attitude and bad reactions?  What if the girl ringing up your groceries is being a sourpuss because she found out her mom has cancer but her boss wouldn't give her the day off?  She'd probably feel better if you ignored her bad mood and smiled through your two minute transaction than if you reciprocated her unfriendliness.  What if the overweight guy who is putting away an entire cheesecake at the next table is celebrating because he's lost 100 lbs so far?  Do you think he needs your judgement and ridiculing?  Or does he deserve a congratulations and a high five?  

I guess it boils down to "You can't know a man until you walk a mile in his shoes."  And yet, we act like we know everything and everyone.  We know that person shouldn't be doing what they're doing, we know they don't deserve what they have, we know a person in their occupation has to be happy at all times.  We know that person isn't having a bad day, she's just a bitch.  And she has no right to be a bitch because we know there's nothing going on in her life that would make her that way.  Don't we just know it all?  

Except we don't.  At all.  Apparently, we don't even know how to treat people anymore.  We fight fire with fire on a daily basis and don't wonder why it doesn't get us anywhere.  We yell at other drivers and give dirty looks to struggling teenage mothers and laugh at fat people.  I'm as guilty of all of it as anyone else, and I really find it disgusting.  

So my new "resolution", for lack of a better word, is to try to be nice.  Try to be above all the anger and rudeness.  Try to be sympathetic.  Try to make things better.  And more importantly, to teach my son the same things.  

And to maybe spread the message to you as well.

1 comment:

  1. An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment.
    There's no doubt that that you need to publish more on this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people don't
    speak about such issues. To the next! All the best!!

    Review my webpage