How many times have you been driving and you stop to let someone go and they don’t go? You just sit there waiting for them to appreciate your kindness and they seem oblivious. So you tut and sigh and perhaps curse and say something along the lines of ‘well I’m not waiting here all day’ or ‘you’ve lost your chance now’ as you drive on irritated with them.
Or perhaps you bump into someone and immediately say sorry, the other person then looks at you and tuts or gives you a dirty look, perhaps even a stern ‘look where you are going next time’, and you instantly get annoyed, maybe even shout after them ‘well if you weren’t standing in the middle of the aisle’ or maybe even something worse?
How many times have you tried to be kind to someone but they are rude back and then you enter in to an argument with that person, you know full well it is their fault because you tried to be the better person?
Perhaps you have tried to be nice and then an argument has escalated and perhaps that person has gone as far as to push you. To hit you even. So, you of course hit back. They started it, you were trying to resolve the issue?
What has happened in all of these circumstances is you have placed expectations on other people to act how you want them to act. To do as you think they should do. You have based who you are on their actions and when they haven’t acted as you expected them to you have become defensive and angry.
Now before I go any further I must point out that we are all human and therefore we will all have good days and bad days and sometimes do right and sometimes do wrong, but, if we can understand our behaviour then we can at least learn from it. If you are a respectful person – or pride yourself to be – then you should be respectful always, not just when someone is respecting you. You don’t have to tolerate disrespect and you certainly don’t have to match disrespect. If you are a kind person, be kind always, don’t excuse cruel behaviour by blaming someone else. Just because someone is cruel to you it doesn’t justify you matching that behaviour.
Be who you want to be, be the person that you think it is right to be. If you want to be kind then you must be kind when challenged, when pushed, when provoked. You always have the choice to close your mouth, hold your hands by your side or walk away.
Preaching that you are a type of person and then letting that be determined by someone else’s attitude is not being true to the person you say you are. The person you want to be.
The other day I could feel myself getting irritated with a man on the train, I was tired and had a headache and I was in the middle of reading a really good book and this man was talking so loudly on the phone. He was trying to get through to someone presumably talking to a receptionist first. I looked over at the man and could feel myself wanted to shoot him an irritated look but I stopped myself, I stopped for a moment and thought ‘Rachel, it is your own fault you are wound up with this man, we have been underground for some time and he might need to make this call, stop being so rude’. This was the telling off I gave myself. I tried to go back to my book but couldn’t concentrate so decided to wait patiently until the man was off the phone. A few seconds later I heard him say ‘yes sorry I haven’t been at work my mother passed away this weekend and I’ve taken a few days off but I will be back tomorrow and can sort it then’. He then had to repeat it several times as the person on the other end of the phone clearly couldn’t hear him, which was perhaps why he was talking loudly in the first place. Well didn’t I just feel like a prize idiot. This man is grieving and trying to sort out his work in the meantime and here I am annoyed because I can’t concentrate. In that moment I was so thankful that I observed my thoughts and took responsibility for my actions.
You never know what someone is going through or why they are acting out. The angry woman shouting from her car, the man that bumps into you without saying sorry, the miserable cashier, you just don’t know why they are acting that way and by you being nice, or patient or just polite, you may be helping them more than you know. More than even they know.
So be nice because you are nice. Be kind because you are kind. Be respectful because you are respectful. Just because YOU are those things, be them.
Kindly respecting all of my lovely Pride.