On being nice...

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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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow! Most excellent post! I'm friending you for that and for the encouragement you offered on my blog.

    3406 days ago
    So true, what does it cost to say a few kind words and make someones day! Great blog emoticon

    3422 days ago
    I loved this blog! Thank you for writing it!!!

    3428 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3990357
    This is so true. Thanks for starting my morning with a smile and the motivation to pay it forward!
    3428 days ago
  • DCGUY72
    Big thanks to all of you who read and left comments. So nice to hear from those of you who agree -- and those of you that had other, new ideas to share!

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment.

    emoticon emoticon
    3429 days ago
    Wonderfully put and so true. I'm glad someone actually said it. Actually I'm glad someone said it so eloquently. I'm sure that is the reason most people succeed with there goals here on SP. It's all the positive reinforcement that we receive and also give. It's what everyone needs and should be given. I wonder why it is so hard for most people to be positive?
    I haven't yet completed my motivation poster. But I am going to print this off and put it on there now. Actually it should be mass emailed to everyone in the world but I don't have everyone email address, so I'll just start at home.
    Thanks so much for sharing these important thoughts.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3430 days ago
  • DENISE223
    I enjoyed reading your blog and agree 110% emoticon

    I personally feel that it takes so much less energy being nice - and it just feels good!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts emoticon

    Peace, love & happiness to you and yours,

    3430 days ago
    I agree with you whole-heartedly. I generally do not make "New Year's Resolutions", but this year I made a decision for myself. I want to be a better person Inside and Out. Working on my health, weight, fitness as well as working on becoming nicer, less judgmental person. I can't expect things from others that I don't do for myself, so this year, it begins with me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    3430 days ago
    Nice blog!
    Thanks! emoticon
    3431 days ago
  • no profile photo 15LOVEHARRY
    I live by the simple philosophy that life is what i choose to make it, so why not choose Joy? I am often asked why i smile all the time, I say i have a lazy face. Why is it that smiling can get so many comments? Being nice is the bomb.
    3433 days ago
  • CBACH71
    This is an awesome blog. You really are right. The world and all of us would be better if we all tried to be a little kinder. Drop the judgement and amp up the kindness and watch those around you respond.

    Great, great, great blog. emoticon
    3433 days ago
    Kewl blog. Joyinky, like your comment!
    3434 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4429274
    I am SO thrilled to see that this is a "popular blog." It totally deserves to be. And you deserve a huge round of applause for creating this and sharing it with us.

    Well done! emoticon emoticon emoticon

    3434 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7675529
    This is really good! ((Standing Ovation))

    3434 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2403740
    So glad I was directed to this blog. I'm sure you put a lot of thought into it and isn't it wonderful to know that if we all were kinder to each other how much better things would be, just like on Sparks. I wonder if being in the ether defragments the ego and allows us all to be better beings. Loved the blog and so glad it was voted popular.
    3434 days ago
    Great blog! This is why emoticon

    SANDIEGOJOHN blogged about your blog, and I'm glad that he did! Being nice is so underrated these days. Everyone wants to be mean, and I'm glad that SP is the one place where I know that I will find positivity no matter what.
    3435 days ago
    Okey dokey. I haven't read many blogs today but 2 of them mentioned this blog - sandiegojohn and walkingannie. And I can see why?

    I have often wondered what the world would be like if it adopted the spark "humanity" and constructive support and disseminated it lovingly throughout this world. Or even did it on a very small basis... Imagine.

    I love this blog. You get my vote.

    And I am not just being nice - this durn blog is sheer fabulousness! Cheers.

    Do you see how positivity can spread - it can be done :) Go you!
    3435 days ago
    Awesome blog! It should be selected as a popular blog. I hope that happens. This recognition and celebration of kindness needs to go round and round. Thanks for your views.
    3435 days ago
    WALKINGANNIE steered me here and I'm glad. I really enjoyed your blog too. I thought you might be interested in this that I received from my brother today. Maybe 2011 is going to be a nicer, kinder year! Wow!

    The great English writer, Aldous Huxley, was a pioneer in the study of philosophies and techniques to develop human potential. In a lecture toward the end of his life, he said this:
    "People often ask me...what is the most effective technique for transforming their lives?"
    He then said, "It's a little embarrassing that after years and years of research, my best answer is just be a little kinder."
    This is the paradox of the power of kindness. It doesn't feel powerful at all. In fact, it almost feels too simple to be important. But as Huxley said, it is the #1 thing that can transform your life.
    How can that be? Because simply put, kindness is the foundation of a good heart and with a good heart...a good life will follow.
    Wishing you a good life! Joy
    3435 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5571632
    My friend Ellen (WATERMELLEN) gave me the link to your blog. I'm glad she did. I "like it'

    SP is just as much about healthy minds and spirits as it is about healthy bodies. Now all we have to do is to convince people with a love of power about the power of love.

    emoticon emoticon
    3435 days ago
    I LOVE this blog! I love this idea. You are so very right. I hope you don't mind but I shared it with my facebook friends :)
    3435 days ago
    How true. We need more of this.
    3435 days ago
  • KELPIE57
    Indeed, let's continue building each other up!
    3435 days ago
  • TERRYT55
    Great blog.......The "nice" aspect of SP is what keeps me coming back everyday and what makes me shun so many other sites. Thanks for saying it so well!

    Happy New Year
    3435 days ago
    "I Liked This!"
    So glad my friend Ellen (Watermellen) directed me here!

    "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."
    -- HH, the Dalai Lama
    3435 days ago
    What an incredible blog!! I was just telling someone about this site yesterday and tried to tell her how supportive the people were...and you explained it all perfectly. I do wish "the world" was the same.
    3435 days ago
    Incredible blog and just what I needed today. Thank you so much for sharing your insight.
    3435 days ago
  • LORIDEE123
    I think YOU are the sunshine that shines your light on this site. You should do some sort of inspirational writings. I know I would by any book you write! You have a magnetic energy. Maybe you should write a book on human kindness for dummies...:-)
    3435 days ago
    We inhabit such an angry world - there is a simmering rage everywhere we look and I don't mean the big hotspots like Afghanistan either. It's everywhere - in the checkout line, in the classroom, on the roads, at the office...

    I believe that people (in general) are stressed beyond mortal capacity by their need to identify themselves by their ego (see Dr. Wayne Dyer's work) and are chronically burdened by the unsustainability of it all. That makes them disconnected, upset and frustrated with themselves which comes out as impatience, competitiveness and, yes, unkindness to others.

    When you think about how hard it is to be kind to yourself, is it really surprising that we are unkind to others? Charity, as it's said, begins at home and, you are absolutely right, kindness begins with me.

    This was a lovely blog - thanks.
    3435 days ago
    Thanks to SANDIEGOJOHN's shout out I got the opportunity to read this blog! Awesome! I feel the same way but for some it is just so very hard and that is really too bad.
    3435 days ago
    Kindness: what matters the most. Thanks for articulating that so eloquently.
    3435 days ago
    What an EXCELLENT blog!! You very eloquently said what I've thought a million times!

    In fact, it's ironic that I am just now reading this because less than a week ago my husband and two kids were talking about Susan Boyle and that whole "incident"!!! In fact, my TEENAGE SON (believe it or not!!!) was talking about what a good singer she is and how cruel people were to her when she stood up to sing. But then my son said "But they apologized to her" (meaning Simon etc)...and THAT led to a wonderful discussion about impressions and how people judge all the time before they know a person etc... GREAT teachable moment with my "kids" who aren't such "kids" anymore!!

    If you don't mind, I think I'm going to print this out and share it with my kids and maybe post it on my frig!! I LOVE your philosophy of "taking the TIME to be nice"!!! WAY TO GO DCGUY72!!

    LOVE your page background and I ESPECIALLY love your Goals #6 and #7 -- OOH LAH LAH Calvin Klein undies -- and you are TOO funny -- "but you haven't met him yet"...! I TRULY hope you DO meet "the one" this year and that you are able to realize that goal!!!!! emoticon
    3435 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6184599
    Guess this falls under the Golden Rule of treating others how we would like to be treated. Too many (sadly myself at times in my life) haven't lived by that rule.
    3435 days ago
    Pay it forward John then maybe the nice will ripple outward and the change will be made. Thanks.
    3435 days ago
  • EDWINA172
    So true. Shouldn't we all behave that way? Everyday? Everywhere, not just on Sparkpeople? We are all here on this planet fighting the same fight and pursuing the same dreams of happiness. Have a Happy New Year!
    3435 days ago
    Very well said!!!
    3436 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4429274
    Well, this certainly deserves a popular blog award. Time for a little shout out for you, my friend.

    3436 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5197542
    Very well said, Greg. I often think that the world is shock full of rude people, who seem to thrive on belittling, ignoring or otherwise putting others down. It is quit sad. It is so easy to be a little nicer. And an added bonus? Being a little nicer makes YOU feel good - and in this self-centered world we live in, isn't that a goal worth pursuing?

    It is so interesting to see the effect a genuine smile and a "Thank you. Have a great day" has on a cashier, or waiter, etc. They light up. It takes so little to make someone else's day a wee bit better. Why not just do it?

    Thanks for the reminder, Greg!
    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas!
    3445 days ago
  • FREES1
    well said! we are all in the same boat together - on Spark that's a little more obvious.. we have a shared goal and are helping each other get there no matter how short or long the journey.. in the bigger world that is not so apparent but even in the widest scope we are all trying to get through life the best we can and hopefully be the best we can be - that gets a little more corrupted and those jeers etc. get used as our own defense mechanisms.. I hope your dream comes true - this world needs it so!
    3446 days ago
    Yes, well said. Being nice takes so little time, in most cases. And what a world of difference it can make! At work, after a string of people not saying "please" or "thank you", suddenly one person will smile and use those words and it can make my day. It can make ME nicer. Much has been said about the "me generation" but disrespect and rudeness isn't confined to one generation. Neither is kindness and niceness, fortunately.
    3450 days ago
    You are so right! Respect is so needed! It is what is missing!
    3450 days ago
    Well said! It doesn't seem like it would be that hard to be nice to your fellow man and woman.... but for some people it's difficult. Not something I ever understood. If only people knew we were more connected to one another than they thought!

    I agree that sparkpeople is filled with nice people! It's that, plus the support/advice that I receive here that keeps me coming back for more!

    3450 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/20/2010 10:47:31 AM
    thank you for this blog, it is so true. i love sparkpeople not only for the help i get for weightloss,but the kind words and goodies i receive from these wonderful people.i am a firm believer in pay it forward, kindness comes from inside, its not just the words its the things you do for one another, smile at a stranger ,help the elderly lift water into thier grocery cart, it doesn't cost anything to be kind to others. simple small baby steps and what a wonderful world it would be.
    3451 days ago
    I always wondered why people can't have the same decency and kindness they have around the holidays. It would be a great world!

    3451 days ago
    Very true. I don't know if it's because we all have a common goal of improving ourselves, but SparkPeople really has what I want out of a social networking site. Here, people are constructive and caring. I've thought about going back to FB or Twitter, but there seems to be so much baggage with them that I'd rather keep out of my life.

    Here's to the Spark within all of us!
    emoticon emoticon
    3451 days ago
    Excellent points. I always remind myself the Platinum Rule, which is to treat others as you like to be treated.

    3451 days ago
    Earlier this year, I determined that it's our lack of politeness that is the cause of so much anger in the world. The road rage, the seemingly out-of-nowhere anger... the root of it is in our lack of respect for each other. It's commonplace for people to shout at each other, to cut each other off. We don't use our turn signals and think we can slide in front of people instead of waiting our turn in traffic lines. We don't say please or thank you or teach our kids to do so. We don't say hello or good morning to cashiers or other restaurant or retail workers. We don't pick up after ourselves in stores or restaurants or public restrooms. This attitude creates anger, which constantly builds until it boils over in a seemingly random burst.

    A little respect for each other would go such a long way in easing some of the world's ills.
    3451 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7675529
    Very well said Greg, capturing the spirit of Spark... it's not the spark points or the articles that give you the tools to help in reaching your fitness goals, but the people that you meet, and encourage along they way and those who encourage you.

    3452 days ago
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