Thursday, October 7, 2010

Is it really that hard?

Believe it or not, I teach the adult Sunday school class in my church. A couple of weeks ago I happened to mention that the president of our church had given a talk about being nice. Being nice? Do we actually need our church leaders to tell us to be nice? How hard is it be nice for heaven's sake? One guy made the comment that it's actually a very hard thing and that's why our church leader felt the need to focus on that topic.

It made me stop and think and you know what? I've discovered that, for humans, it really is hard to be nice sometimes. Let's use writing for an example.

So, let's say your editing someone's story. A lot of us are in writing groups. We can all relate. Do you come out and tell them their writing is sloppy and they should know how to do it by now? Do you tell them that you're tired of being specific in your editing? Do you tell them they should push back their publishing date a year because they're obviously too stupid to get it right in the next six months? Or could you instead say that you can see the hard work they've put in and could they keep tightening a bit more? And that if they need more time, you'll give it to them.

Do you make derogitory comments in the margins about the way they word things? Do you pull out sentences to use as examples in a rude way? Are those comments meant to make the writer feel smart or stupid? I frequently have this same conversation with my kids. I'll say, "Did you say that to your sister/brother to make them feel smart or stupid?" Think about it.

There are ways to say things that are rude and ways to say it nice. Now, some people would complain that others are too sensitive, and have to be handled with kid gloves. Well, don't we all want to be handled that way? Don't we all want strokes, to be praised instead of BLUNTLY cut down?

I think we all need to step back and really look at the way we treat, talk, and email the people around us. Are we too harsh? Can we say things in a friendlier, more constructive way? A lot of the time, yes. Everyone wants to be liked. Everyone wants friends. Sometimes I say things I regret and wish I would have been nicer. Since I have sometimes been on the receiving end of negative treatment, it's on my mind and I have made a vow not to be the kind of person who is rude, overly blunt, negatively critical and unloving. I want to be known to everyone as someone they can count on to make them feel happier in any given circumstance.

When I die, I want to look God in the face and not be ashamed of the way I treated the people who crossed my path. Let's all make that our goal.


Krista said...

True true true.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

It is sometimes SO much easier to snap or boss than take a deep breath and be patient. I am constantly having to remind myself of this w/ my children. I take them for granted, yet I need to treat them the way i would want to be treated.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Wonderful post. There are so many opportunities throughout a given day in which we could be nice or nicer.

KarenG said...

Do you make derogitory comments in the margins about the way they word things?

Can't imagine who you're writing about here LOL. We've all been through it. Just go after your edits with a vengance and make your ms. awesome. I know you can do it.

LTM said...

like that kid advice! and oh, yes. What you write is so true. And I wish KarenG would take it easier on you... LOL! J/k~ ;p

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Very true. I never understand how some people can be so mean. Intentionally or not. I always make sure I'm being nice, even if I don't like something the person is doing. Same goes for critiques. I may not like something, but I never disrespect them, or tell them their work sucks. :) Great post.

Old Kitty said...

Awwww what a lovely post!! I always, always always like to think that I do my best to treat others as I would like to be treated myself. I really feel happier afterwards too! Take care

Carolyn Abiad said...

Do unto others...but I need tough love when it comes to revision. I want to know, that's why I'm asking.

Misha said...

Beautiful post.

I tend to live by the Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated.

I hate people acting arrogant and hurtful to others, so I don't do it.

I try to be friendly to everyone I meet.

It becomes like a habit eventually.


Scott said...

So you teach Sunday School too? People use the "I'm just being honest" or "I don't like to be fake" as their excuse for being mean. I tell them they can at least try adding a little tact to their honesty. Honesty does not have to be accompanied by malice or rudeness.

L.T. Elliot said...

My dad once said he was going to buy me that bumper sticker that said, "Mean people suck." Because that's how I feel. I can understand about every other emotion except for meanness. What is the point? My dad ALWAYS thinks before he speaks and I could take a lesson from him. Maybe that's really how to cut back on meanness. People could consider others feelings before they speak/act.

N. R. Williams said...

As the moderator of a critique group, I can honestly say that only about 10% of the people I've dealt with have been rude. I had to call them on it. The rule is praise first, what are they doing right, what is good about the work, then, what do they need to do to fix it. Sometimes we brain storm difficult problems and how to overcome them. I for one, had trouble with passive voice for awhile. I think I drove everyone nuts. But they were patient and now I can catch it on my own.

As for mean people. It has been my experience that the bully is someone who has been so hurt by this world that they want to make others suffer as much as they do. For this person, salvation in Jesus and true faith is the only cure.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

MT said...

It's easier to be nice to people when they aren't driving badly. I should work on that.

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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