Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hard to be nice

My friends on Shaw keep this cart at the foot of their driveway -- just up from the ferry dock -- and change the saying on the cart as it suits them. This particular saying has a terrific bumper sticker quality: it's very amusing. But it also reminds me of a conversation I had earlier this week with my husband.

I'd been trying to tell him how I felt about something, but he could only hear it from his own perspective; he couldn't seem to imagine the situation from my point of view. I think that's actually quite normal; it seems to me sometimes that the real curse that sent us out of the Garden of Eden all those centuries is our human inability to see -- or sometimes even look -- beyond our own circumstances, to put ourselves in others' shoes.

Which is why, of course, this sentiment about kids and nursing homes is amusing, but also thoughtful. Of course we should be nice to our kids! We should be nice to EVERYone! But the truth is, generally speaking, most of us are more likely to be nice to someone if we think there will be payback -- even if the payback is way off in the distance. Because that's how we humans think; we tend to live in a me-centered universe -- and to be annoyed with all the folks who can't see our perspectives from their OWN me-centered universes. Which tends to make us... well... not nice!

In the end, I had to understand that, much as my husband loves me, he's unlikely ever to understand how I feel in this particular situation; we're made very differently. Which is a good thing: each of us gets exposed pretty constantly to another way of being in the world, which broadens our perspectives. But it also means that there's little point in attacking him. It's probably much more important for me to sit down with my own feelings and honor them myself; to get to know those parts of me that sometimes feel hurt or unloved even when I know that's not the case. Just another great opportunity to stop projecting and start taking a look at my own inner mechanisms.

... and here's a video that expands beautifully on this premise:


Anonymous said...

I'm looking for he video and don't see it. Sorry.

Diane Walker said...

I'm not sure why you're not seeing it -- it still shows up on my computer. But here's the actual link; maybe that will help: