We’re all hypocrites…technically

Every once in a while, every person has to be willing to look at him/herself  and acknowledge how s/he is not such a good person. Not easy to do, but important. I spend a lot of time writing about how a person can be civil, good, considerate, kind, and so on… and I do not generate these thoughts from a solely outwardly critical gaze. I come to them, mostly, through self-critique (which usually follows a verbal tirade about something I think is not cool, thus signalling the guilty self-analysis of “who am I to talk?”). How does that popular saying go…? Something like: Whatever criticism you throw at others [typically–in one way or another–] can be equally applied to you. So today, at work, I’m discussing one of my biggest peeves with my neighbor: people not washing their hands after going into the restroom, and sick people who don’t cover their sneezes and coughs with their elbows. And I realized something. I am such a hypocrite.

See, I have a chronically sniffly nose. Summer, fall, warm, cold; it doesn’t matter. My nose will be sniffly. So I am a chronic tissue user. To be  ecologically friendly, I have switched to recycled tissue products, but to also be kinder to the microbes on my skin I limit the use of hand sanitizer to mainly communal hand-oriented situations (dinner table, socializing events, etc). And washing my hands every time is also hard to achieve when strapped to a desk or away from a sink. It’s a tricky territory–a minefield of all the “right things” to do not adding up to one ideal solution for my nose-issue.  So here I am at work, tending to my sniffles and finally realizing that this may be someone else’s peeve (or a version of my own). Yup, I’m a hypocrite.

But here’s the thing with calling myself a hypocrite, and maybe I’m just comforting my ego here, but I think it’s pretty progressive to acknowledge one’s own hypocrisies, contradictions, and inconsistencies. It is a strength quite frankly. People who can turn their critical gaze inward (and create productive solutions for their assessments) are often better parents, colleagues, and friends. They don’t rely on the notion that they’re perfect or untouchable by criticism. They have enough confidence to face criticism head on from the one voice they cannot ignore: their own. They know they have areas needing improvement and are willing to identify them. Every one–at one time or another–is a hypocrite, wouldn’t you agree? So if we can acknowledge it, learn from our “faults” and try to do better next time, we’re doing pretty great! And if you’re reading this blog, you can bet you’re one of those super awesome people! It’s easy to judge our worth by our short-comings, but it’s much better to judge our value by how we deal with our flaws. We are all in need of regular mental/spiritual upkeep. So why not throw some extra gold stars on our slate for how we handle the whole rigmarole?

Mottos and mantras

So, as some of you know, I’m not really a “religious” person. I am a very faith-filled person though. My mother was a very spiritual woman and I was raised within a religious, relaxed extended family. So I think I got the best of both worlds.

Anyways, the reason I bring this up is because I think being kind and courteous extends to the way we live our lives. I don’t think anyone has to have a religion to be a good person. But there are many common beliefs taught in many faiths that are good principles to live by.  I believe that living these beliefs can make our world a happier place (despite the difficulties we experience) and can make it easier to spread niceness to others. Here are some attitudes/ideas I think are great.

  1. The classic: treat others as you would like to be treated.
  2. Try to practice what you preach. We’re human so we’ll always slip up, but the point is that we work hard to live what we believe.
  3. My grandma mailed me this quote. (If anyone knows who said it, please let me know, as I would like to give them proper credit.) “Attitude is the master key to life. With the right one, you can open any door.”
  4. Trust in your “higher power” (be it your self, God, Allah, Buddha, nothing, or something else) to lead you in the right direction. It is important that you are actively living every day in a good, positive, productive and receptive way. If you are doing these things, wherever you go is probably the right place to be.
  5. When I’m sad or distraught, my mom always says to me, “Live the questions.”  We don’t always know the answer. So we do the best we can even in the “not knowing.” Eventually, she says (correctly), we find that we have been living the answer and didn’t even know it. 
  6. Another I like, though I’m unsure to whom it is attributed: “Embrace that which defines you.”
  7. And this one is great—from a wonderful movie, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium: “Life is an occassion. Rise to it.”

Any suggestions for more?


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

Practice what you ticket

I like to drive responsibly. Once upon a time, one of my jobs entailed a lot of driving in which safety was a huge priority. So, I don’t run red lights, I signal when I turn, I drive the speed limit, and I don’t pass in No Passing zones. Seems like the civil thing to do.

But what about police officers and state troopers? Nothing bothers me more than seeing police cars run red lights, speed, turn in a no-turn-on-red intersection, or forget their turn signals. It happens all the time, and every time the police car emergency lights are turned off!  What’s the deal? Aren’t police supposed to be models of proper law-abiding behavior? Aren’t they supposed to follow the very laws that they readily ticket us for? I think some lessons in manners and decency is in order.


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