Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Whatever happened to...

...just being NICE?

Why is it that nowadays everyone feels they should say exactly what's on their minds no matter what effect it may have on those around them? At this (hormonal) point in my life, such behavior is really starting to get to me.

I just wasn't raised that way.

"If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."


But even for me that is becoming more and more difficult to do. You see, I have always pretty much kept my mouth shut and allowed the folks around me to think what they want, do as they choose and say what they please. I have been a sounding board, a shoulder to lean on, a willing listener, and dare I say it?

Even a doormat. Yes, in the past I have allowed people to walk all over me, use me and toss me aside when they were done. Mostly people that I believed to be my friends, but the opportunity was open to anyone who cared to take it and run.

I'm not saying that is a good thing, but it's how I was and I can't change the past.

However, I can do something about the present. The only problem is I'm not liking the results. And right now, I'm not liking ME very much either.

Over the past few months I have had a lot of personally...I don't want to use the word 'traumatic', even though it's the first to come to mind; it's just too strong a about 'very bothersome'? Okay, a lot of personally very bothersome things happening in my life. My nerves are shot and my stomach is tied in knots most of the time.

Everyone says I take things too personally and let others get to me too easily, but I can't seem to change that. I've tried many times over the years, all to no avail. No matter how I try to adjust my thinking or attitude toward these situations, I have been completely unsuccessful. I am also the one who will go out of her way to keep from hurting someone else. I refuse to say something to someone that I wouldn't want said to me. (I won't say I have never done that, but I will say that I always try very hard to keep from it. What's the harm?)

It's just how I'm wired.

I've also been unsuccessful in convincing myself that it's okay for others to be rude and inconsiderate and hurtful just because it makes them feel better to 'let it all out'. We may all be entitled to our thoughts and feelings but no matter how you twist it, turn it or bend it...we should NOT be entitled to hurt others by spewing them like venom.

Two facts I know:
1. People are what they are. I don't expect them to change to satisfy me.
2. Everyone has their own burdens to bear and no one has an easy walk through this life.

That being said, I'd like to add this:
You can get up each morning cursing your troubles and spreading your misery to those around you like a plague. You can make rude remarks to the guy in front of you in the checkout line at Kroger when he is having trouble locating his frequent shopper discount card, because after all, you're in a hurry and he's holding up the line...or you could smile and offer him your own.

When you're busy and your child asks you a question for the third time because he can't remember or didn't hear what you said, you can yell at him for not paying attention and make him feel...small. Or you can tease him about being forgetful, give him a hug, make eye contact with him and answer him one more time. He won't forget that.

You can gripe and complain about the way someone does something that they volunteered to do in order to be helpful, or you can step up and say "I'd be happy to help you out with that" if you have the time and ability to do so, or simply "Thank you for doing this!" if you don't.

You may not have everything you want or even everything you need, but taking it out on everyone around will not only NOT change that fact, it just makes you a more miserable person. An 'attitude of gratitude' can make all the difference in the world, not only in the way you think and feel but also in the way you are perceived by those around you, and in turn, the way they will treat you in return.

I'm tired of people saying things to me that I would never in a million years even consider saying to them. All of the rudeness, the impatience, the downright meanness I see all around me is beginning to have an effect on my own attitude. I don't care much for the person I've been seeing in the mirror lately.

And I'm grateful that I can see it and know that it needs to change.