Trying to Be Nice

Let’s get real today. There are women in this world who we’d all “love to hate.” Of course, in all actuality, we have no reason to dislike these women- they’re kind, beautiful, honest, friendly, and- in some cases- God-loving. On top of that they’re usually ridiculously creative and they always have the perfect messy bun. Their coffee is always warm and abundant and in a cute little mug that reads, “Stressed, Blessed, and Coffee Obsessed.” Their children are adorable and polite. Their rescue dogs are the perfect blend of Australian shepherd and husky, and their husbands bring them gorgeous white flowers on a random Tuesday to display on their Pottery Barn desk.

You have someone in mind right now, don’t you… Maybe it’s Joanna Gaines. Maybe it’s another blogger. Maybe it’s someone you know in real life. Regardless, it’s a woman who always seems to have it totally put together. And even when she doesn’t, there’s a beautiful smile on her face and she’s asking you what’s going on in your life and how can she help.

So often I wish I was that woman. I wish that I could look at my mantel and just know that a copper bucket with an old wooden spoon and two small succulents would fit perfectly. I wish that I could apply my make-up at 5am and still look like a put-together adult by 3pm. I wish that I was quick to offer grace and mercy to others, instead of the sarcasm and judgement that tend to fly from my lips.

Kind 2

I’m not trying to get down on myself today… I have quite a few qualities that I’m proud of. They could all use some perfecting, but I like to think that goes for everyone. It just seems like these “perfect” women never slip.

I know that’s not true, but when they do slip they don’t bring anyone down with them. They’re not vengeful. They’re not nasty. They’re not hurtful. Those are three things that I know I can be and have been in the past. Those are the traits I’d like to weed out. As of late, I’m consciously trying to delete the words “jealous” and “hate” from my vocabulary. Do I wish I was participating in the trip/experience/etc. that you are? Yes. But more than that I am genuinely happy that you are getting to have that vacation. Instead of saying, “I’m so jealous of you” I’m trying to say, “I’m so happy for you!” And I’m really meaning it.

Personally, my faith plays a role in this change, too. In the past I’ve never uttered or typed the words, “I’ll pray for you.” But I’ve said it a lot lately- and then I really have prayed for those people. I told K a few weeks ago that I often pray for him. You don’t have to be religious to be nice; it just tends to go hand-in-hand for me.

Kind 1

I don’t believe that I will ever master effortless beach waves. My dogs are a weird mix of under-bite boxer and scrawny whippet. (Which I wouldn’t change for the world.) I hope that my future kids will be polite, but I don’t think they’ll ever sport a top knot or keep a cardigan on for more than a minute. (It’s too hard to climb trees in a sweater.) I’ve been drinking coffee for +3 years and I still can’t figure out how to keep it warm.

But that’s ok. These things don’t bother me; I don’t feel a need to change them.

I’d like to be nicer, though. I’d like to extend understanding and grace to those who deserve it- and more importantly, those I would have formerly felt don’t deserve it. People won’t stop being rude and nasty, but I can change my reaction. I can stop that cycle of anger and judgement. I can say “thank you” to the waitress who made us wait 20 minutes to order our drinks. I can smile politely at the scowling woman in Wal-Mart who’s shooting daggers from her eyes at me for no reason. I can refrain from gossip. I bet Joanna Gaines doesn’t gossip.

I’m not in the business of comparing myself to others- really, I’m not. But when I see traits in other people that make them shine brighter (inside and out), I tend to gravitate toward that behavior or outlook or lifestyle. It’s my path to self-improvement.

Then again, if anyone has the secret to perfect hair and well-behaved dogs I’m open to that, too… Just saying.

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30 thoughts on “Trying to Be Nice

  1. No one is perfect, regardless of how they appear. This is a great reminder though to be kind to everyone! I very strongly dislike the word “hate” and try to not use it, especially in front of my kids. There is enough hate in the world that they shouldn’t have to hear it at home too.

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    1. When I was a kid we weren’t allowed to use the words “hate” or “stupid”, or tell one another (my brother and I) to “shutup.” Sometimes I use those words now, but I cringe a little inside when I do it because I was taught they’re “bad words.” Not a bad philosophy to live by as an adult… 🙂

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  2. Yes, I am right there with you. This is really good. I’ve been the target of a little online nastiness lately and I’ve been working SO hard on my reaction. I’m trying to extend grace instead of fly off the handle.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle!
      Ugh. It’s SO HARD to react calmly to meanness. I just cry and then bottle up a whole bunch of hate. I’m a grudge-holder. I’m trying to get a little better at letting things go, though.

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  3. Well, I’m sitting here with frizzy hair & watching my home camera to see what mess Harvey Dent is getting into right now – so I totally dont have any advice for you 🙂
    But I so get this & sit in these same shoes with you. There is one ‘big blogger’ that I just see her life every day & I’m like, “its not fair”… which is so stupid to think. I am blessed. What more can I ask for? I dont NEED the big house & the 2.5 kids & the clean kitchen. Its perspective, right? & you are right – its seeing things & being happy for the person.
    I just love this post.
    & honestly, I love people more when they DO show the messed up parts of their lives. It makes them more ‘real’ & approachable to me. We need more “real” in this world of “capture 1 perfect second picture’….

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    1. Oh my… if I had a camera on my dogs when they’re loose I’d CRINGE. Haha!
      I love seeing people be “real”, too! Occasional I post a “perfect picture” but I try share my real life when it comes to posts or pictures. Pinterest and Instagram cater to that perfect image but usually it’s more fun and relatable to see a picture of a tousled bed with dogs or cats under the covers or a kitchen covered in flour!

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  4. This is the truest thing EVER. I often see people comment stuff on social media (like, random people, sometimes trolls) that are just badmouthing celebrities or whatever. Or you hear about bloggers getting hateful comments (thankfully I haven’t ever gotten one, but I don’t have a big blog) and I say to myself, “Why can’t women just lift other women up? Why do we always have to bash each other? We can’t be feminists and want equality, but then bash each other!” And then I notice myself being jealous or spiteful in my head and I’m like, “STOP IT!” Ugh. Anyway, this is something I’m totally conscious of and I’m trying to only be happy for people. (I’ll probably still say stuff like “I’m so jealous!” but in a lighthearted way, where I don’t actually feel bitter about it inside [because it’s a habit]. If that even makes sense. Haha!)

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    1. YEP. I was actually just looking at old FB posts and some of my statuses are so harsh toward people like Miley Cyrus or other celebrities that I don’t necessarily relate to… I deleted them because there’s absolutely NO reason to just bite and nip at others for the sake of a few likes or a giggle.
      My jealously is usually stirred up by a vacation photos, haha. The “why not me” monster comes out and I have to remind myself that I do fun things, too, and everyone (mostly) works hard for what they have- even celebrities.

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  5. Love this so much! This line really stuck with me- In the past I’ve never uttered or typed the words, “I’ll pray for you.” But I’ve said it a lot lately- and then I really have prayed for those people. I used to work for a church, and we talked about how we would tell someone we would pray for them and then it slipped our minds and how sad that was. We decided when we would say that, we would pray for them right then! It worked so well. 🙂

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    1. I do that, too, now! Usually I pray while I’m laying in bed so I try to relax and think of all the people I interacted with that day that might need a prayer sent their way. I think it’s humbling to ask for help for myself and others 🙂 All part of the self-improvement process for me!

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  6. My dogs crap on the floor. Sorry, just had to chime in with that because of your sign off. LOL

    I know my strengths just as well as I know my weaknesses. I hate when people think I’m putting myself down because I can identify my weaknesses and state them plainly. I also don’t think wanting to change behavior is disliking yourself – it’s a part of growth!

    As adults, we should all be striving to be more understanding and less reactionary and full of vitriol. I know I am…but think this is probably an area in which I’ll always be a little less than 90% good at it.

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    1. UGH. Sometimes I think it’d be easier to just show them how to use a toilet. Grr… Haha!

      I am ridiculously reactionary- especially when it comes to someone offending or attacking a loved one. Especially especially if my loved one is immediately forgiving and understanding- then I feel like I need to put up the fight FOR them. It’s a real struggle for me.

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  7. I certainly think we all struggle with this from time-to-time. But that’s okay! We’re human, and all we can do is work on being better people. 🙂 Love this post!

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    1. It’s definitely ok! I will never be perfect, haha. That’s something I’m totally ok with 🙂 I just know that I can be bitter and harsh sometimes, and it’s something I’d like to work on. Thanks, Lindsay!

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  8. I love that Audrey quote!

    I am not always nice to people but I do try and be aware of my “meanness” when it happens because to me that’s the first step in changing! Oh sure, I open doors for others, pay it forward occasionally, and even help friends out when they’re in need but I definitely could do better with my initial reactions to events.

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    1. Audrey Hepburn said such wonderful things (and did such wonderful things)!

      I always catch my “meanness” right after it happens. Haha. Usually I think, ‘Oh why did I react that way??’ but sometimes I think it’s totally justified. (It probably isn’t… ha.) Just knowing that I can identify it is good, though- you’re right!

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  9. I don’t even know who Joanna Gaines is. Should I?

    I’ve become more aware of how I REACT to someone else as well. It’s difficult sometimes (like last week when I shared what an utter moron Kanye West was on The Ellen Show), but overall, it has helped me stay more positive by not being negative about others.

    Also, I think some of these “perfect” woman are just not that perfect. No one is. And, I’ve always been a BIG believer that ALL of us have something special to bring to the table. The imperfect people should not be overlooked, and often, I find the imperfect people more interesting.

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    1. Hahaha, Joanna Gaines is part of a husband-wife house flipping team on an HGTV show 🙂 She just seems like an incredibly kind, friendly woman. America is kind of obsessed with her. At least millennials, anyway.

      UGH. Some people just automatically get an eye roll from me and they are definitely the Kanye-type. It’s easy to judge and hate-on celebrities- especially ones as ridiculous as him- but I guess that’s the more challenging part of this for me: trying to treat and respect everyone equally. They say we’re all fighting our own battles- apparently even those of us with +50 cars and the means to jet off to private islands for a week 😉

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  10. i so appreciate this and it’s something i am working on too. i think the first step is to bring consciousness to it and then extend grace to ourselves as we recreate new habits and thought patterns. i know what you mean about those certain women that seem to have it all together and even a few times people have let me know that sometimes i appear to be that person (which is so very very far from the truth).

    it’s important on both sides to share when things are great and awesome but also when we struggle sometimes, especially when we have a public side to our lives. thanks for this!

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    1. It’s bad because I notice it in other people… When someone I’m with is being judgemental or snotty toward others I get that heavy feeling in my stomach and realize what’s happening. Then I blush (involuntarily) and try to figure out how to turn the situation. I know that’s an improvement from who I used to be, but it makes me SO uncomfortable to be in a situation where someone is being put down or treated unfairly- even celebrities.

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  11. oh my goodness, how I relate to the feelings in this. there are a few people, some I know in real life, some just online, who I consistently find myself saying snarky things about….which isn’t fair to them or me. just because our lives look different, there are parts of my life they might want just like I want parts of theirs (which is where the snarkiness comes from). such a good reminder to give everyone grace, because we all need it no matter what our lives might look like to the outside.

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    1. There’s a girl that I graduated with that I so, so want to dislike but I just CAN’T because she’s so darn cute and nice. She always looks stylish, she’s thin and gorgeous, and she has the cutest little family. Honestly, she’s a total sweetie and when I try to figure out WHY I want to dislike her it all comes back to my petty jealously and how ridiculous I am! Ahh! I just have to keep telling myself, “Lift others up!”

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  12. I am the worst on Facebook with this stuff. I see people with their first houses and stuff and have to chill myself out. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. And who knows what else is going on in their life. I wouldn’t change anything and I try to appreciate everything even though we are not rich and I don’t know how to properly curl my hair in 15 minutes.

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    1. We’re pretty fortunate, too, also my jealous monster starts to show when I see people on vacation or spending their day off relaxing or boating or spending time with their significant other. I have vacation-lust, hahaha. I like my job. I get time off. I even have vacations planned. It’s just hard to remember that when I see “perfect” pictures from other people. Haha!

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  13. This is such an interesting perspective! I try not to compare myself to others and get jealous, but it’s so much more difficult to go one step further and be genuinely happy for that person. And to be kind to them. Not that I’m not kind, I’ve just never thought of it in this way.

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    1. I don’t know why it’s something that I think about, but so often I find myself irritated or angry with someone for their good fortune. Which is jealousy… and the easiest way in my mind to fight that is to change my angry to joy for that person! Haha!

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  14. there’s something to be said about killing those (haters) with kindness. it probably won’t make them like you, but over time, they’ll look like the asshole.

    NO ONE is perfect. even the most “perfect” life has ups and downs and you never know what actually happens behind closed doors. i knew a “perfect” couple who seemed to have it all – money, a huge house, adorable kids, great jobs, they seems so happy and in love etc…but then we found out that they were both cheating on one another and were so unhappy in the marriage! so that goes to show that people will go to great lengths to hide what really goes on so the best thing you can do is just focus on yourself. never mind what other have/are getting etc. with hard work and dedication/discipline, you can get whatever you want in life.

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    1. Since I wrote this I’ve seen “perfect” people and situations and relationships crumble and crack. Obviously that brings me absolutely no joy, but it does prove your point. No one’s perfect and I won’t feel happy or accomplished comparing myself to others 🙂

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