Monday, June 23, 2008

When Nice is Hard

I'm forever hammering two 'rules for life' into my children's minds:

1. We treat people the way we want to be treated, not the way we are treated.

2. You don't get blessings for being nice to your friends. It's easy to be nice to people you like.

And, I'm forever hammering into my own mind the following rule for life:

Just because you think it, and just because you're right, doesn't mean you should say it.

But don't you just get sick of being nice all the time? Especially when you try your hardest to be nice and someone still takes your words and contorts them into something nasty? Or when life has handed you a very unfair set of circumstances and demanded that you deal with it and just be the bigger person? Don't you sometimes just want to tell everyone what you really think of them for good or for bad and then rally everyone else to your cause?

Well, it doesn't mean you should. You get the blessings when it's hard to be nice and you do it anyway.

I read a wonderful series of articles on marriage by Wally Goddard on Meridian Magazine. The principles he discussed could easily apply to any relationship, not just a marriage. One of the things he said is that when we feel irritated with someone (or any other in a range of negative emotions, I assume), that is our invitation to elevate our thinking and our actions. We are invited to correct a flaw in our character, not the other person. Holy cow.

But, isn't that a heart-stoppingly lovely way to look at things? And won't it keep me busy.

14 comments:

Ms Sara said...

Love it Jenna! I'm just glad I'm not the only one that feels that way. We have the "NEW 3 question rule" over here that we have to ask before we open our mouths (notice the keyword before; that's the hard part)Here they are:

1. Is it true
2. Is it kind
3. Is it necessary

Annette Lyon said...

I'm one of those who needs to constantly reminder herself about your third rule--and just shut up more often than not. Yes, I might be right, but so what?

Sarah said...

So I'm about to comment on this as I hear Camden from the other room..."Trenton, You're not being a peacemaker!"...Josiah and I had to chuckle under our breaths at that one...

Anyway, I agree, it is not easy to be the nice one all the time. And We too are really trying our hardest to teach our children that very rule of "treat others the way you would want to be treated!" I feel like we're failing miserably at it though!

Also, I need to remember that 3rd one myself. I'm so bad at keeping things to myself when I know I should. Of course it comes out and I'm instantly kicking myself for letting it slip out! We live and learn though, right? Or atleast we live and keep kicking ourselves repeatedly!

Misty said...

I have some...interesting...in-laws and I honestly think they are on this planet to teach me this lesson. If I had a dollar for every time my husband said "Just be the bigger person..." Ugh, I hate that phrase! But of course, he's always right. It's just not as much fun to be the bigger person...I'd rather throw a fit, speak my mind, and make some waves. Thanks for the reminder of what I SHOULD do, even when it's hard or not what I WANT to do! :)

sogratefultobemormon.wordpress.com said...

great points jenna. i was thinking about something like this on sunday. it is so much easier to just visit with the people you already know and feel comfy with in the ward. i need to branch out a little more often and welcome in the newbies, too. blessings, kathleen

Andrea "The H family" said...

Hi, a very wise man once told me if you don't know what to say...if you struggle with what to say..then just do nothing. I have personally done this with several circumstances and time has a way of working things out. Time is so good in between circumstance and response.
Oh..and the blessings thing. Ummm, I have a spiritual take on this. Probably not for a blogger comment though. Hugs,
A

Kimberly said...

Brilliantly put!

And I so feel that way...all the time!

Tam said...

OK I'm with you on your rule. I can so learn from that too;) And I have a third kid rule that mine know how to say but can't seem to do. "When you make a mess, you clean it up!"

Cute blog!

Momo Fali said...

Oh Jenna! You nailed me today! I was just thinking this morning how sick I am of being nice all the time. One of these days, I'm going to explode...and it isn't going to be pretty!

anjmae said...

Hey Jenna, just caught up on your blog--been out to help my lovely sister, Luisa. I do like the rules, I must say. When I am struggling with being nice, I do one of two things: go for a run (or walk) or dink around on the piano for a while. Or, here's a third, and very convenient: I just sigh, smile, and look away. Hope things go more smoothly for you, and I totally relate to that six weeks in the summer where your family is not together. Not my favourite! take care!

Moody said...

"Just because you think it, and just because you're right, doesn't mean you should say it."

I work on this one a lot! I also tell the kids that doing the right thing isn't always doing the easiest thing.

LaskiGal said...

Oh, so true. We try so hard to alter the behaviors of other people, but the in reality, the only thing we can change is ourselves.

And really, isn't being nice more about being the best of who we are. We don't want to quit that, do we???

Great post!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Wow, that is a good insight. Still hard to do, but maybe with incentive like that . . .

Piper of Love said...

I have nothing profound to say, because you nailed it.

ahhhh, the beauty of keeping our mouths shut!