On being nice...
Saturday, December 18, 2010
I was reflecting today on what it is about the SparkPeople site that I like. I came up with lots of different reasons and thought about lots of the folks I've had a chance to interact with here. What kept coming up over and over for me is that, for the most part, the people are just nice. Seems simple, right??
It got me to thinking about how much that is missing in other places. Where people aren't supportive, aren't kind, aren't considerate or thoughtful of others' feelings. And it seems so simple and yet so hard to get right. It's the thing that makes me want to just scream and rant. It's the thing that makes me want to be gentle and compassionate and wonder why it is so. Most of all, it *really* is the thing I want to see more of in the world.
I look at things like the Susan Boyle video from Britain's Got Talent and see her get up there. Then come the snickers and the jeers; the rolling of eyes and laughing when she says she wants to be a professional singer. And I wonder, why is that? Why do we have to be that way? When you see how important that dream is to someone, why not say "Wow... that's fantastic. I really hope it comes true for you." And mean it.
I'm not suggesting that we all become a bunch of pollyanna-type "you can do anything you want" folks who are blindly just supporting & encouraging things that aren't realistic. But there's a difference between helping another person have a realistic view and just being mean spirited.
That's the part that makes me *CRAZY*. I'm not asking you to cure cancer. I'm not asking you to solve the Middle East hostilities. I'm not asking you to solve world hunger. I'm just asking you -- and me, too -- to be nice. To take a few moments to be kind and encouraging to someone else. To believe in their dreams. And if you can't believe in them, at least have that underlying hope for them that they do come true. And if you can't even do that, then for goodness sakes keep your mouth shut about it and don't make fun, belittle, or otherwise douse their pursuing their dreams. It drives me absolutely off-the-beam-frickin'-nuts that this something that is TOTALLY within our control and we simply choose not to do it. I don't have the answers or know how to do some of these other things. But I *do* know how to do this. So shame on me when I choose not to do it.
To a really great extent, I see this positive spirit here on SparkPeople with very, very few exceptions. I don't see a lot of "are you kidding? you can't lose that weight. you'll never succeed." I don't see the mocking and put downs. I *do* see people giving each other constructive advice... when they think someone is going about something the wrong way. But it is in a respectful way and it is still in service of the person's goal -- with a fundamental belief that they *can* achieve it. And I think that is what is one of the things that makes the site so successful. I know it seems simple and obvious -- but there aren't a lot of places that have that kind of positive energy throughout them on a day to day basis.
So, that's what I want for the world. And I want it for me too. I know that I can be just as guilty of this and it is something I really work on not doing. I just want people to take the time to be nice. Don't sugar coat the truth. Don't hold back from saying the truth that needs to be said. But above all remember why you're doing or saying what you are and ask what the motivation is. Is this to build the person up or tear the person down? What a different world we would have if this were how we all approached things.
Here's to a 2011 full of building each other up.