I’ve been thinking. Sometimes, I’m not very nice.
I like to think that, overall, I am a nice person. I don’t find joy in being mean on the occasions that I am, it’s more that I’m too stubborn to be nice. Example: I know my mom hates it when I leave things on the stairs and walk by them a hundred times a day without bringing them up. Most times, I bring them up, but if, for whatever reason, I’m not feeling to pleased with my mother, I won’t. It’s not that I privately cheer Take that! and cackle maliciously when she yells at me, In fact, I feel guilty about it, but I’m being stubborn.
I have to use “close-to-home” example if you will, because I am probably most nice when dealing with strangers. It comes from being in the service industry, I think. Whenever I’m out doing errands, or at a restaurant, or stuck in traffic, or wherever, if something is an inconvenience, I tend not to blame the easy target (the cashier, the waitress, the car in front of me). I’ve been the easy target a couple of times and it only took once for me to vow not to treat people I don’t know like they’re incompetent. Plus, being kind gets you what you want far more often than being a little b*&#@.
But what about the in between times? The times I’m not spiting my mom but I’m not giving a stranger the benefit of the doubt. Like when dealing with friends, classmates, acquaintances.
Sometimes I suck at listening. I interrupt. A lot. When someone tells me something that happened to them, I think of a time that something, or something like it, happened to me and immediately want to tell my story. I stop listening and start thinking about how badly I want to tell my story. That’s self-centered. I can be selfish.
I forget sometimes to ask about an important job interview, or a game, or a presentation a friend had. But if I have something important I am very upset if my friends forget about it, or don’t care about it as much as I do. That’s unfair. I can be unreasonable.
Lately, I browse through my news feed on the Book of Face and am overcome by an inadequate feeling. I read about friends starting new jobs. I see someone who posted a status and got 45 “likes”…I’m impressed if more than 5 people “like” anything I post. I see friends getting new apartments, moving and starting exciting chapters of their lives. Some friends even getting married! Then I sit back and look at myself: two weeks out of college, living at home, working at my old summer job. A college degree to my name and this summer is no different from last, so far. And, though I feel happy for my friends, I also feel sad for myself. That’s envy. I can be jealous.
I catch myself sometimes judging people. I want to know how people train themselves not to be judgmental. Because, I can catch myself when I am, but I can’t stop myself from doing it in the first place. Example: on my way to work, I see a young girl pushing a baby stroller. Judgement: Teen mom, shame on you. Rational explanation: a girl is taking her older sister’s baby, her niece, for a walk. Why can’t I just come to that conclusion first? Why the horrible assumption? That’s presumptuous. I can be judgmental.
I believe there are people in this world who are genuinely kind people. Who truly are selfless, fair, caring people. I know at least one of them. But the majority of us, we have flaws. Maybe you’re manipulative. Maybe you’re ignorant. Maybe you’re lazy. Maybe you’re rude. But, I suppose the first step, as with anything, is recognizing that a step needs to be taken. If I can’t admit that I can be selfish, how can I ever change that about myself?
What worries us, I think, is that it’s too late. That people have already formed an opinion about us. We have a reputation. Even if we do change, people won’t notice or care. But you know what? The people that matter will notice. The people that matter will care. And most importantly, you yourself will be a better person. Everyone around you will benefit from that.
This was an odd post. I guess that’s what happens when I write at 2am. If you stuck with it through ’til the end, bravo for you, leave a comment, will ya? 🙂