Monday, September 24, 2012

Mean Girls...

I recently had the undesirable experience of coming face to face with some cold, hard, "Plastics."


I didn't know people like this actually existed in nature.  I guess I've struck gold in the friend department, because never before have I been surrounded by such a concentrated pack of wolves, I mean...women.

Despite my many attempts to chip away at their super-pseudo veneers, they simply would not let me in.  I gave them the benefit of the doubt.  My mom used to always say, "Maybe they are just shy."  But after spending an entire, painful day and evening with these people, I had indisputable proof that they most certainly were not suffering from shyness.  No- what I had in front of me was an in-the-flesh example of the pretentious fruits born from a lifetime of entitlement, selfishness, and materialism.   The most disappointing fact is that I don't think these women even realize how poorly their attempts at camouflaging their insecurities are working for them.


If only they understood that acting like this...


Makes them look like one of these...


So I guess the lesson I'd like to impart on my kids here is to simply be nice, and be your most authentic self.  Even if life is sweet to you and graciously offers beauty, brains, wealth, health, and talent- there is a zero tolerance policy for pretension.   Johann Kaspar Lavater succinctly put it, "Where there is much pretension, much has been borrowed; nature never pretends."  

Besides...life is so much more enjoyable when you're living it nicely. 


My mom is a perfect example of this.  I remember being embarrassed by how much she smiled.  She smiles at strangers, animals, trees, flowers, herself.  I have memories of her walking out of the grocery store, looking up to the sky and flashing a teeth-bearing smile to the sun.  She isn't always the happiest woman in the world, but she is one of the kindest.  I don't think kindness and happiness are always synonymous.  They can be, but being nice is one of the few acts that any person can still engage in, even if they are personally caught up in a circumstantial flu of depression, anxiety, financial insecurity, physical pain or disability.  I had a nice long drive home yesterday to think about it, and there really is no good excuse for being mean to another human being.  Even if they are being horrible to you.  (I've got my work cut out for me.  I'm so sorry if I've ever been mean to you.)

There is a natural side effect of being nice though...

There are many beneficial results from choosing kindness over being a sourpuss.  As humans, we've been blessed with a brain that is wired to reward us for good behavior.  Being nice is literally good for our health.  Even if we passively witness an act of kindness, neurotransmitters start firing like sparklers on the 4th of July and serotonin increases- giving us a high similar to the euphoria a runner feels 20 minutes in.  Scientists have proven that simply watching a movie which demonstrates altruistic behavior can lead to a sensation of well-being and peace.  Imagine the powerful effects actively engaging in kindness could have on our bodies, minds, and spirituality. 


So...


  •  Open the door for the stranger behind you.
  •  Send someone a 'Thank you' card. 
  • Bake some cookies and pack half of them up for your neighbor. 
  • Volunteer 
  • Pay for the food in the car behind you in the drive-through. 
  • Sit by the person sitting alone. 
  • Don't point out flaws- yours or anyone else's. 
  • Donate blood. 
  • Become an organ doner. 
  • Greet people in passing. 
  • Smile at others. 
  • Give genuine compliments. 
  • Say "Please" and Thank you." 
  • Don't brag. 
  • Don't take credit for anything that isn't yours. 
  • Be grateful.
  • Forgive.
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt if they aren't being nice to you.

I could go on forever.  Just thinking of ways to be nice has made my morning a little sunnier. 

As far as the "Plastics" I had the not-so-much-pleasure of meeting...I think I'm going to track down their addresses and anonymously send them this book as a little reminder of where they stand in the world...



That will be my random act of kindness for the day.

Janet

3 comments:

  1. Uggh....I hear you. But love the turnaround. And haha.....you send out those books! :)

    -Ashley

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