It is always worth being nice. You might not always feel like it.
Maybe you really disapprove of what someone around you did. But maybe they had a bad day, maybe this is all they have as capacity today, maybe it is who they are, but is this who you are?
Should you encourage and support behavior which you find “bad”? Not really. Should you try to find a new perspective on it? Yes. The Dalai Lama has said that “compassion has a healing power”. When you act out of compassion, the chance that the person in front of you corrects their behavior is much greater. But it should be a true compassion. Whatever you say, needs to be honest, to come from your heart, and not out of duty. Even if there is one positive and four negative statements that come to your head, focus on the one, which incites compassion in you. “Every person is much more than their bad (or worst) actions”. Very often, the bad actions are a result of a lack of nourishment of the good ones.
What is more, how do you feel after you say something bad to or about someone? Do you go over it in your head with joy, ease and peace? Are you proud of yourself? No, not really. There must be a little voice in your head telling you that you might have hurt someone’s feelings. The gain, you might think is justice, but in reality no justice is achieved. You think you are doing the person a favor? If something needs to be fixed , most often it will not be fixed by unkindness. You would often incite defensiveness, insult, guilt, insecurity, but also possibly sadness and hurt feelings.
“But how and WHY to be nice when all I want is to be honest?”
Next time , take a quick moment to ask yourself some obvious questions:
Am I not being nice – unpleasant, mean, rude, insulting, disrespectful?
Why am I being it (what is the cause)? Sometimes the reason can be so absurd that when you answer to yourself, you get shocked.
Is it worth it? What will be the impact?
Try to detect a pattern – when are you not being nice? When someone has diverging opinions? When someone is failing at a task they are supposed to do? When someone is telling you what to do? When someone treats you unfairly? Aren’t most of these sources coming from outside – because of our fixed expectations of how reality should perform?
Yes, we might want to have our opinion respected, to see people taking responsibility of what they are supposed to, we want to never be told what to do, or be treated unfairly (and sometimes it can be really unfair or abusive). One thing is for sure – we cannot bend the external reality. This does not mean we should put up with it, or we should settle with injustice, or we should smile and remain silent. But yet, the only nurturing solution is – be nice. Even if you express discontent – be nice. Even when you express disappointment – be nice and compassionate.
Overcoming the ego
The moment you start being nice, instead of bitter, and especially in the moments, when you truly feel bitter, the real positive change starts. It is a magic, which everyone possesses, but needs to master. Say a genuine nice word to the one who you want to shout at. You will immediately discover they get softer, you get softer, air feels lighter. They will want to show you more softness from where that came from. And no – there is no suffering of your dignity. There is an absolute growth of your dignity, a triumph over your ego.
Yes, sometimes we need to be tough and say things straight. But as much as we can, we need to spare our judgement and anger and focus on the kindness. It is shocking how hard it sometimes can be, but the personal reward and the change in the other person can also be immense.
I recently came across a very interesting quote “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, you should build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete”. I would add “build a new model based on kindness, where rudeness does not work”.
Take a few more tiny doses of life here.