Saturday, October 25, 2014

Just Be Nice



1. the state or quality of being kind.
2. a kind act; favor.

Kindness is one quality that I insist on.  I have no time for people who don't feel the need to be kind to others.
It's not a difficult concept.  You simply treat others (as in EVERYONE) with respect and compassion.  You treat them as you would like to be treated.
It shouldn't be a difficult thing to do.
It is something that comes pretty naturally (for most of us.)
However, it is interesting how quickly our desire to be kind dissipates when we are treated poorly.

I remember when we moved to Bloomington, MN.  It was quite a change from the tiny town of Prairie du Chien, where we had lived for three years.
Our house was located on the East side of town (aka: the ghetto) 
Wal-Mart was about a mile from our home, so that was where I decided to go to pick up some items we needed after we moved in.
I should mention that in my previous life (otherwise known as "Leave it to Beaver" small town perfectness, where each week, my neighbor Julie and I would grocery shop and do our Wal-Mart run together.  It was both productive and social, and we loved hanging out with each other.  I should also mention that Wal-Mart was the ONLY shopping option in PdC, and it was right next door to the grocery store, so there you have it.)
I was still trying to adjust to shopping alone, and not knowing anyone.
During this first Wal-Mart adventure, I wandered through the store, and not one single person acknowledged my presence.
Every one there was completely wrapped up in grabbing their sale items, and pushing their way to the front of the line to check out.
Even the cashier didn't make any small talk.  She just acted like she hated her job, and that I was wasting her time.
I came home in tears.
After explaining to Mark how no one said hello, no one smiled at one even looked in my direction....where was this "Minnesota nice" I had heard about?  It certainly wasn't on the East side of Bloomington!
He, without pause, just said.  "Next time go to Target."
Thanks Mark.  You are so helpful.
My point is...when you take kindness out of the equation...people notice.

When you think about the people in your life, or even strangers you have encountered, I would wager that the ones that stand out the most are one of two things.  Either really wonderful, or really difficult.
I am sure that we all have people in our lives who seem to thrive on negativity.  They are usually the ones who like to blame everyone else for their problems, complain rather than take action, and demand rather than request.
These are also the people whom we probably aren't going to rush to the aid of, because we know that no matter what we do, they will still find something wrong with whatever help we offer.
Then there are the people in our lives who are completely selfless, who would help anyone at the drop of a hat.  They never complain, they are always upbeat and happy, and if anyone would ever ask us to describe them, the first thing we would say is "they are sooooo loving and kind!"

I know I would much rather associate with the latter.  However, I'm not sure that I would be able to realistically fit that description.  I often wonder how people who outwardly appear to have it so together, and are so sweet, caring, and happy all the time really feel.
I know that I would never treat anyone in an unkind manner unless they had done something to hurt me in someway.  However, I certainly am not upbeat and happy all the time.  I'm not going to take my anger or frustration over a personal matter out on anyone else, nor am I going to be obvious about being upset when I am around other people who are not involved, but it is hard to hide your emotions when something is really weighing heavy on your heart.

Knowing this, I just wonder how many of those people who always seem completely joyful and positive whenever you see them are really feeling.  I worry about that, because if they are projecting such an upbeat attitude to the outside world, how does anyone know when they really are hurting inside, and could use some support and love?  

I always keep this in mind when I encounter people who are unkind also.
Obviously, there is something in their lives causing them to act that way.  Some people are much better at hiding it than others.  I used to be offended when someone was rude to me, or ignored me.  Now, I take a step back, and try to remember that whatever they are going through isn't about me.  They are trying to work through something, and rather than me being impertinent back to them, I need to treat them with kindness and compassion....because that is probably what they need the most right now.

Sometimes, a simple touch can make all the difference in the world.  When you think of all the people out there who are alone, and so rarely experience the warmth of another's touch, it's heartbreaking.  Just reach out and squeeze their hand, or touch their shoulder.  When you think about it, don't you feel the most cared for and loved when another person takes a moment to simply stop and reach out to you?

Even on days when you just want to crawl back into bed and hide your head under the covers....being kind can pull you out of your slump.
Especially when you remember how blessed you are.

You know the old phrase "fake it till you make it?"'s true.  No matter how crappy you feel, how mad you are at your spouse, how crazy those kids are making you, how much you want to throw heavy things at your boss.....just smile and be nice.  Eventually, you will forget what you were ever mad about in the first place.  (well, most of the time anyway.)

And your kindness is something that no one can ever take from you.
When you look back at your life, you may see mistakes and wish for the occasional do-over...but if you know in your heart that you lived every day with kindness and compassion in your heart, and you treated everyone you encountered the way you would want to be treated, you will smile, and know you lived a beautiful life.  And how wonderful will it be to have anyone who ever knew you say "she/he had the most kind and beautiful heart?!"


It is most appropriate that kindness was the theme for today, because one of the kindest people I know is celebrating her 40th birthday today!
My sister Kris is FINALLY catching up to me (in age. I'm afraid she will never catch up to me in weight.  I am sure she is VERY happy about this!);)

Kris had the pleasure of being the middle child. probably wasn't so bad, because she was the only one mom actually liked. ;)  
Why?  Because she was the only one who knew how to keep her mouth shut.  (Emily and I are still working on's not going very well.)
Kris is the "keeper of the peace" in our family.
Not too long ago she told me "I could never hold a grudge, because I just can't stay mad at anyone for that long."
If only all of us could be like her!  

I sometimes wonder how she and I were birthed from the same loins.  (isn't that a lovely visual?)

Here she is.  I so wish I had a pic of her when she was a little older.  Her hair stood straight up on end.  It was adorable...and hilarious.  Go figure, the baby with the crazy hair would end up being the sister with the AMAZING, thick gorgeous hair that grows like 12 inches in a year.

And me. Really?  How are we related?  And no wonder she is the skinny one.  That was pretty much settled at birth.

So, I should mention the fact that she is also super woman.  She is mom to four kids.  (Three of them wild and crazy....yet oh-so-fun-and-fantastic!! boys) and then finally, Miss Martie.  (named after our dad) :)

She teaches kindergarten by day, and dance classes by night. Oh, and her boys are in every sport known to man, so she and her husband are on the go 24/7.

Did I mention that she gets up at the crack of dawn to work out everyday?  
Just like me!  lol

(I can totally do this too...but I just prefer to use my arms.)

Kris and I used to share a bedroom when we were teenagers.  This was interesting, because we are soooo different.  She is a morning person, I preferred to stay up all night and read.  She is super organized, and her house is always spotless.  I am a huge slob, and...well, I'm a huge slob.
I remember so many mornings when she was up, getting ready for school, and I was trying to sleep in as late as possible.  She would be packing her bags for the day (she LOVES bags...this has not changed.) only back then she would just use plastic shopping bags.  LOUD plastic shopping bags.  That drove me nuts.  And when I would read at night, I would have the light that was mounted right about our headboard on...which, of course, drove her nuts!  It was awesome. 

she is gonna KILL me for putting this pic on here!!
 But seriously....look how smokin' she is!!

Here is the thing about Kris.  Whatever she does....she makes it look effortless.
I'm not sure if she sleeps...maybe that is her secret?
What I DO know is that she is loved by everyone who knows her.  She is kind to everyone she meets.  She goes out of her way for others.  She makes a difference in this world.
In high school, there was a special ed boy who really liked her.  She, of course, could have gone out with any guy she wanted to (I mean, come on!  Look at her!)  However, she knew how much it would mean to him, so she went to one of the school dances with him. She danced with him all night, and at the end of the night, he asked if he could kiss her.  So, she said "you can kiss me on the cheek."  I am sure that will forever be one of his favorite memories.  That is just the kind of person she is.  She roots for the underdog.  She makes sure everyone feels welcome and included.  She is pretty damn special.

So, today, dear sister, I wish you the happiest of birthdays.
Welcome to the "40's".  
You are beautiful, talented, smart, caring, and kind.
I am lucky to have you in my life.

Happy Saturday everyone.
Have a fantastic weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, she is pretty special. Great post, Beth!