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Be nice [Aug. 24th, 2012|09:26 am]
Don't be yourself. Be someone a little nicer. -Mignon McLaughlin, journalist and author (1913-1983)

So here’s the quote of the day from Wordsmith.org – they’ve been doing slang words this week, which haven’t really stretched my vocab boundaries, but the quotes have been fun. And this one I love.

(Let us all pause while we contemplate me, being nice.)

I don’t know if you’ve been to a wedding where someone goes around and videotapes the guests giving advice to the newly married couple. I have, several times now. And this is going to blow you away: I’ve never said anything funny. Here’s the thing: I don’t know that I really enjoy weddings. Yes, you can have a good time at a wedding…but I would posit that you all could have had just as good a time, in more comfortable clothes, without having to sit through a ceremony. But if that’s what you’re doing to do, then I’m going to take it seriously. I’m there to witness and be the community that supports you as a couple.

(Which also gives me the duty to call you on it when you are screwing up. DUTY. People forget that all this stuff, for generations, is ritualized peer pressure, and that it’s actually our failure as communities to call people on their expletive that is causing so many of today’s societal ills. Not failure to pray in school or say the pledge of allegiance. For the record. So, be careful what you invite to your wedding.)

Shunning. We don’t do enough quality shunning anymore. We shun for nonsensical reasons like sexual orientation, race or religion. We need to shun people who don’t recycle or who water their lawns during a drought. Show up at your neighbor’s door with torches and pitchforks: “Bob, we’ve all agreed. You need to start picking up your dog poop or we’re going to get serious.”

But I digress.

I was at weddings, being serious as a heart attack, dispensing words of wisdom to newlyweds. And lots of people give really good advice. And lots of people give really stupid advice. And kudo’s to the guy who was really honest “Don’t ask me, I’m paying alimony to three women, obviously I’m doing it wrong.”

I say “Just be kind to each other. If you always practice kindness, you’ll get through anything.” Even if it all goes wrong, temporarily or long term, if you try to be kind in working through whatever it is, if there are wounds, they’ll be clean ones, with a good chance of healing. Sometimes we are way too much about winning, about revenge, about being right. Try being kind. It doesn’t mean being a pushover, it mostly just means giving a rat’s patoot about the other person. Trust me, you are naturally giving lots of rat patoots about yourself. There’s nothing wrong about asking for, demanding what you need, your fair share. But if you let kindness be your guide when you're doing the asking, the price will rarely be unbearable for the other person.

It's not that it's more important than love, but you can love someone and hurt the expletive out of them. Kindness is the foundation stone on which love builds.

And you may say “pretty brave talk for someone who lives alone with five cats”. To which I say “The cats are not my fault. I never wanted five cats.”

Er, I also say “hey, I may not still be with any of my longterm relationships, but I’m friends with ALL of them. ALL of them. And a lot of stuff goes horribly, horribly awry in my life -- but there's always plenty of love and kindness. That may not be the winning touchdown, but at this stage in the game, I’m definitely in the lead."

Note to self: NEVER use a sports analogy again. You suck at it.

Anyway. I’m going home tonight and engrave “Be nice” in the inside bottom of my mug. I think I’m going to need a reminder or two this weekend.

From: kudrasslipper
2012-08-24 01:53 pm (UTC)
Agreed - and also - try some self-awareness. Spend - oh, I dunno - at least 10 seconds wondering WHY you're so upset - WHY this thing you're arguing about is SO important to you - WHY you take a statement (criticism or no) SO deeply personally. Most answers end up starting out with "I am afraid of....."

Once you start sorting out the categories of stuff that cause you and your partner to be fearful - you can actually stop triggering your own (and each others') fears.

I'll let you know when I actually manage to take my own advice.
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[User Picture]From: silvrwillow
2012-08-24 05:02 pm (UTC)
This is good advice as well.
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[User Picture]From: queenmaggie
2012-08-24 02:19 pm (UTC)
I think that may be the reason Rich and I have managed to stay happily married; we never have said the unforgivable. We argue honestly and fairly. and we manage, somehow (him more than me), to overlook the small stuff.
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[User Picture]From: russell_moore
2012-08-24 03:05 pm (UTC)

"Note to self: NEVER use a sports analogy again. You suck at it."

that made me chuckle

I would be honored to be your host for a night of alcohol fueled creativity with words ... I'll help learn ya some sports ;)
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[User Picture]From: silvrwillow
2012-08-24 05:05 pm (UTC)
This is one of the first things that drew me to Ed, and always one of the things I've said about him - is that he is kind and gentle. Excuse me, now you've made me smile & I have to go hug him for a moment. :) See you tomorrow Mere.
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2012-08-24 06:29 pm (UTC)
Wonderful advice and never out of line. Good luck with the weekend!
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