Being nice to people can reap plenty of benefits in your personal and professional relationships, but let’s face it, we can all learn to be a little bit nicer.
Some of us get frustrated with certain events in our life and when one person adds the final straw in the form of a comment or action, they get to feel our negativity dumped on them like a bucket of cold water. What’s worse: we’re not often nice to the people we should be.
Being Nice to Difficult People
When someone is snarky or rude, it’s very hard to be nice to them. And yet, sometimes being nice is the one thing that will stop emotional bullies in their tracks. Whenever I hear someone make a rude comment toward me, I go back to some advice I read in The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz. Ruiz says to not take anything personally, even the things that are true. For example, if someone compliments you, what they are really doing is being nice based on their own experience. (In other words, it mostly has nothing to do with you.)
The same goes for when people aren’t being so nice. When they make a rude comment or put you down, it’s based on things in their own life. I don’t know about you, but when I see someone being extremely angry and just going off on someone, I feel like they are exposing their soul. They are telling you exactly what they’re all about in that instant. When you realize this, it’s easy to shrug off comments and even to feel compassion for the person saying them.
Being nice in this instance doesn’t mean you compliment them and tell them how wonderful they are being, but instead you keep yourself from adding to the negativity. You keep your dignity and fail to engage in whatever it is they’re trying to pull you into. You’ll come off as being nice even when you don’t feel very nice at that moment.
Being Nice to the Important People in Your Life
Sometimes the people we value most in this world are the ones that we aren’t nice enough to. The folks that put up with our bad moods and venting don’t often get the polite and kind behavior that we save for strangers.
The good part is that you can change your behavior now so your loved ones do feel more loved. Start with the obvious here: Tell them you appreciate them. Better yet, tell them you love them in the way they really like to hear it. Does your special someone prefer to get notes from you? Will cleaning the dishes without being told send the message to your partner that you really care? There are different ways to let someone know you care about them. (The book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts can help you figure out the way your loved one will feel most appreciated and valued. It’s a little bit different for all of us.)
Most of us care about the impression we give someone we barely know more than the one we give to someone we live with or care about it. Switch this attitude around, and go out of your way to make your spouse, friend, or family member know without question how much you value them in your life. When you feel yourself falling back to the “taking for granted” stage again, do something once again that shows the people in your life how important they are to you.
How to Be Nice to Yourself
How do you treat yourself? Are you as nice as you should be? Being nice to yourself is the first step in being nice to others. If you can’t treat yourself with respect in mind or action, this negativity will spill over into your relationships as well.
Midlife women, especially, have a hard time putting themselves first. But being nice to yourself doesn’t mean you neglect others. It means you take care of yourself so you can be a nicer person to others.
To do this, take a look at the negative triggers in your life that get you to say or do things that aren’t good for you. Learn how to banish self doubt and all those nasty voices that tell you you’re not good enough. Reward yourself with a massage or long walk when you get through a rough day. Nurture your spirit, and do the things you probably have recommended your best friends do when they’re feeling down.