Be Nice. is on Facebook

Hi folks!

Be Nice.  has a page on Facebook. Click here to see it. If you want to search for it, it is not a “group” but rather a “page”!  Hope to see it gain some fans!

Cheers!

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Amicable Allegory #3: ER Experience

Nice people do make dubious days better.

My fiance and I were at the ER last Monday (the beginning of a long hospital stay and the second ER trip in four days), and after an hour wait, we were escorted to a bed in the hallway where we were to spend another four hours. 

As we waited for my fiance’s turn to be treated, a registration lady came around to take his information. Her name was Cynthia. I imagine many people in her position would have a lot of stressful days: working in an ER, talking with distraught people who may or may not have health insurance….  But Cynthia was just wonderful. As soon as I smiled at her, she was equally as delightful. We chatted and joked and had a great time while she took in my Fubby’s information. Even after she had finished helping us, we would exchange little jokes when she passed by. When I mentioned that I hadn’t eaten that day, she got me packs of graham crackers and a few cans of juice to tide me over until I could go to the cafeteria. This meant so much to me on a day that held a lot of surprises and unfortunate and unplanned events.

It’s people like Cynthia, who do thoughtful little things to help other people, that make a tremendous difference in a person’s day.

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Cracked eggs and crushed bread

When I was a little girl, I loved loved loved  to bag our groceries at our local store (there, you had to bag your own stuff). It was my own little version of Jenga–how many groceries could I fit in a paper bag without crushing something or tearing through the bag?

Nowadays, I make a habit of shifting my perspective from time to time so I can imagine what it must be like to be in someone else’s situation. Even when it comes to something simple like bagging groceries. Who really thinks about that? But if you do that all day, I bet it’s something that concerns you. And if you are like me, you really care about your apples staying unbruised and your eggs unbroken.

So I do this: when I shop I arrange things loosely in my cart according to how I’ll put them on the conveyor belt. I put crushables and perishables in the top area, canned foods all close together, jugs and cartons together and raw meats in a group.

Then on the conveyor belt, I can put all the canned stuff together and all the soft things together. I like to think it makes the job of the person bagging the groceries a little easier because everything is already roughly arranged. Also, it helps me out because I am less likely to have bread that is smushed or eggs that are cracked!

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

We have a choice

I don’t know about you, but I have been noticing lately the amount of books and articles that are out about being happy. I mean, I know they were always there, but lately I must be noticing them more (you can definitely chalk it up to this blog!).

I liken being nice to a lot of things: being compassionate, considerate, self-aware, proactive, and yes, happy. I manage to turn bad days into better days by my pleasant interactions with others, whether they are strangers or friends. I focus in on those positive moments, like I might bask in the strong warm sunlight on a chilly afternoon. I choose how I digest my day, how I interact with others, what type of energy I project, how I process or receive information. These things are all my choice. Even when someone purposefully toys with my temper, trying to work a reaction out of me, I am still in control of my character and how I feel and respond to those actions.

I was reading an article the other day featured on the MSNBC/Today website (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/28114004/?GT1=43001). It is about this book: “Get a Life That Doesn’t Suck: 10 Surefire Ways to Live Life and Enjoy the Ride,” by Michelle DeAngelis. The featured excerpt is very interesting. You might enjoy reading it. It reflects on this very idea: we choose to be nice, happy, proactive, friendly, positive, receptive, and so on. We choose how we feel.

This article responds very much to my attitude about niceness: if I want my world to be more positive and courteous, I must first choose to be positive and courteous. I must choose to be open to those interactions. By choosing to be pleasant, the likelihood that others will return the kindness is far greater. And this decision directly contributes to the positivity of my day.

I hope you enjoy the article. I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on this idea.

And as always, thanks for reading!

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

What goes around comes around… eventually

Kevin commented on “Be Nice…To Yourself” that we should not expect anything in return when we are nice to others. I thought that was such a terrific point, I decided to post an entry about it!

See, I’m horrible. On days when I’m feeling down, I sometimes focus on being nice to others because that makes me feel better. This fits the same logic as when I try to look really pretty (make-up on, nice outfit) on the days when I feel sick or really bummed out. So, why is this so horrible? Well, when I am nice but the person I am being nice to isn’t nice, I get cranky about it.  That’s not so good. Doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen. So, I need to work on that I guess!

The important thing is this: being kind, courteous, patient, nice, compassionate, and/or generous to others is something that ideally should be done without a return on your “investment” of effort/time/money.  The popular theory is that whatever you send out into the world will immediately–or eventually–be brought back to you (sometimes three-fold).

I like to think that it is often returned to you on purpose at specific moments. When my Mom got cancer, a local non-profit organization donated the profits from their annual benefit (always for a person in need) to her to help us get by. There were hundreds who were likely in need, but they chose her. I believe it was the positivity she sent out every day at her job and in her relationships with others that brought back so much generosity to her just when she needed it most.

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Be Nice… to yourself

So, perhaps you’ve picked up on the fact that being nice doesn’t necessarily stop at social courtesy. Being nice usually entails one being compassionate, considerate, and outwardly aware. This is not always easy to do.

Most people are trying to improve the quality of their lives, and in many circumstances this means improving oneself.  Some people (like myself) are perfectionists about it, and the cycle of self-critique and outward-critique is never ending and often hinders the growth we are strivng for. Some people work so hard to achieve things that it wears on them to the point they get sick or their quality of life dwindles unnoticed.

And when these things happen, being nice to people can seem impossible. That’s when it’s time to be nice to yourself. Remember this:

1. No one is perfect. While it is commendable to try to be the best person you are capable of being, making allowances for the times you aren’t 100% nice/compassionate/considerate/focused/et cetera is a very important part of personal growth. This is self-forgiveness and self-compassion. This is self-awareness at its highest level. In the end, those that accept they are human while simultaneously reaching evermore toward effective self-improvement usually yield the most positive results in their lives (and the lives of others) overall.

2. Listen to your body and spirit. Don’t run yourself into the ground. Take an R & R day. Take 5 minutes to relax and clear your mind. Go spend a few bucks on your favorite smoothie or coffee. Take the time to cook a really exciting new meal for yourself. Be present to the moment you are currently in. Do things like these when you have reached your limit for the simple sake of self-preservation. And then you will likely have more energy to move on with your day and you will likely be more purposeful and genuine in all that you do.

3. It is all a balancing act. What is most important to you? What is next in line? What can slack off a bit? What can you do to make your day a little better? How can you make mundane tasks a little more enjoyable? How can you make a sad day brighter?

So when you go out and try to be courteous, but nothing seems to work; when you feel down and then feel guilty because you are such a drag to be around; when you snap at someone you love without meaning it; when you forget something important because of over-working yourself; when you just don’t have the energy to be 100%, be nice to yourself. You know you deserve it.  And once you’ve had enough of that, you’ll head out into the world refreshed, a little more capable, and ready to be more effective than if you had simply pushed through. 🙂

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

I feel…

I used to argue with my sister. Well… I still do even though we’re both almost thirty, but not nearly so often. When we were kids, we got in nasty fights and often-times this would include fighting with our mother.

Unlike many teenagers and their mothers, my Mom insisted on talking through our feelings rather than reacting, shutting down, or avoiding. We might as well have been like girl scouts around a campfire holding a “talking stick” because it was really that organized. We did not interrupt–and if we did, someone would say, “Excuse me, (so and so) was still talking,” and the other person (no matter how angry they were) would say, “I’m sorry, please continue.” (As a matter of fact–and this is an aside–my mother taught us as children to never say “shut up” when someone was speaking because it meant we had no interest in what the other person was saying and that this was rude and inconsiderate.)

We sometimes spent hours sorting out our feelings in order to find workable solutions. It was horrible to be a teenager and be forced to talk about everything, but in another way it was great. Because of that we were much closer and understood ourselves and each other much more than most of our peers. And let me tell you, who needs to be grounded when you spend three hours talking about why and how what you did was wrong! It was a great punishment! 😉

There is something lasting I learned from this:  it is easy to react, to say things we don’t mean. But it is a whole other thing to identify where the feelings are coming fromactually feel them, and then say what you honestly feel and mean.

We learned to preface our statements with, I feel.  “I feel… that is a poor excuse for your behavoir, even though I understand how you could react that way.”  “I feel… hurt when you tease me about _______.” It was easier for the person to apologize for their actions or empathize with my feelings if I wasn’t accusatory or reactive. For example, “You always tease me and don’t care what I feel. You are such a jerk.” No one is going to respond well to that one. What if they really didn’t know it was hurting you? Isn’t it likely they deserve the benefit of doubt?

Depending on how well you know the person or how much that person is capable of responding to you with equal maturity, you will have varying degrees of success. But I have found that approaching communication with two simple words, “I feel,” has saved me from a lot of unnecessary complications of easily solvable issues. And my relationships seem to be a little nicer than they might be otherwise!

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.