“If you expect something in return for being a nice [person], you’re not a nice [person].” –Paraphrased from Reddit and probably countless wisened individuals.
The subject of “being nice” has been on my mind for a couple weeks now. The beauty (and beast) that is the New York subway is that everyone is too busy to wear their daily mask of courtesy. Only smile for those who you need to impress, right? Or at least it feels that way sometimes. Don’t give a damn for those who you subconsciously consider beneath you. But on the subway we see everyone’s true colors; we see how people act when there isn’t much to benefit from being nice. Someone holds the door open for you, let’s you pass when you’re in a hurry, or smiles at a fellow passenger — true signs that these individuals are nice when no one’s looking.
Another popular saying is that one should “observe not how they treat you, but rather how they treat the waiter.” Or cashier, or taxi driver, or otherwise. The majority of the people who’ve read this probably agree with it. That same majority probably believes they live it. And yet only a minute fraction actually do.
No, I don’t think I’m part of that minute fraction; I very much have a breaking point. The point at which the stresses of life hit so hard that my own negative emotion spills onto others who really don’t deserve it. But I’ve learned and more realistically continue to lean to keep that breaking point lower and lower (or higher, depending on how you look at it). Luckily I’ve had some great role models to emulate along the way.
Like most of my posts, there is no point or purpose in writing this, only the hope that we’ll smile when unnecessary, be kind when no one’s looking, and see the good in people before the bad. There’s enough negativity in the world. The best I can do is not spread it around.