Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – July 16, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – July 16, 2004 – I’ve decided to write a book entitled “Being Nice”. Unfortunately I’m stuck at Chapter 1 – Page 1 – Paragraph 1. There is an art to being nice. I’m not silly enough to judge my ability to be nice based on my thoughts over the last two weeks. My state of mind has been closer to madness and mayhem.
Fortunately my inhibitors are fully intact and I’m well acquainted with the concept of consequences, so my fantasies of revenge will never come close to realization. I think some people understand the skill of being nice. Perhaps it goes hand in hand with kindness. It’s certainly not related to gruffness or lack thereof, because I’ve known curmudgeonly people who were very nice. I wonder if nice people are early risers – the welcomers of the dawn – friends of the tweeting birdies and the makers of coffee? Those who just can’t wait to greet the day.
If that is true, and it could be proven that late night people aren’t quite as nice, it would explain my apparent lack of knowledge about “niceness”. The older I get – e more frequently I’m called a broad, a bitch and a battleaxe – my close friends. Can you imagine what my detractors are muttering under their breaths? Perhaps niceness is one of those learned behaviours that we all possess.
Babies aren’t nice or not nice – they just are – so somewhere along the way we learn this talent. I’m not talking about the pretence of being nice – because anyone can do that, but about genuine, from the heart, Pollyanna pleasing and agreeable behaviour. Lots of people are nice to get what they want in life. I’ve been known to engage in that behaviour myself on occasion. It gets results and moves things forward.
But sometimes I encounter people who are just plain nice. It emanates from somewhere inside and spills over into everything they do. It’s quite pleasant to be around them. They always have an encouraging word, a ready smile, an extended hand and a willingness to offer assistance to others.
I’m not saying that I am, but if I was interested in being nice, how would I start? Maybe the secret is to begin by being nice to myself. Let’s see that would mean working less hours and being content with marginally less income. Planning time during the day or evening for myself. Learning the fine art of being still and doing nothing.
Oscar Wilde once said, “To do nothing is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual”. I bet nice people nurture their minds, hearts, bodies and souls. Being nice can’t exist in concert with being bitter, sour and resentful. No one is immune from bad times, but I’m thinking that nice people have learned to process the hurt and the negativity that touches their lives and then let it go.
I think nice people find joy in the moment, willingly share their enthusiasm for life with others, look on the bright side of situations, draw strength from simple pleasures and expect that good things will happen to them. When life is viewed from this perspective, it’s hard to be sour.
This seems like a tall order for me, but perhaps one that needs further investigation. It’s not that I’m a frightful person, but I can be intolerant, brusque and impatient. I think a little mellowing of my personality may be in order. Perhaps a rounding off of the sharp corners. I’m not looking to be a goody two-shoes, but perhaps a woman with less edge, more patience and a kinder approach to living. I do have a soft side, a compassionate and kind nature and just maybe, somewhere deep inside beats the heat of a nice woman. That may be something worth exploring!