Play nice

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I just had a friend bring me a card, a bunch of roses and a box of deliciously-sinful sugary cereal. It’s not my birthday. It’s not a special occasion. She knew I was having a rough day and wanted to make it better. Mission accomplished. Yesterday, I saw a shop employee help a young mother out to her car who didn’t have enough hands to push the stroller, carry her shopping and comfort her upset little one. Why did she help her? Because she saw she needed help, and decided to help. I also saw on the Russell Howard Hour about a subway conductor, Carl Downer, who makes the most chilled and happy announcements over the speaker just to make the commuters’ day a little brighter.  He doesn’t have to, he isn’t paid extra to do that, he just does it to benefit others. His happy kindness towards others is contagious. You watch him and want to be more like him.  And hey don’t you roll your eyes at the prospect of this being just another post about being nice to each other. I mean, I’m not gonna lie, that pretty much is the vibe here but stay with me. Ponder with me. Why? Because how we treat each other is really important. It’s that simple. It’s like the blood that pumps through the veins of our coexistence on this rather fabulous hunk of planetary matter. So why do we have to keep reminding each other that there is kindness out there and that nice people still exist?

When we are little we are taught to play nice, to share, to hug, to look out for each other and basically taught the golden rule of “treat people how you want to be treated”. Well, it was a nice thought, right? I mean, it worked for a little while but then we grew up. Then we learnt about jealousy, selfishness and stopped playing so nice with others. Maybe that’s not quite fair, we do all have our nice moments still but it seems to be more when it suits us. And I’m not saying the world is now filled with horrid people, I’m just saying maybe we need to step back and look at how we are treating each other. Life is busy and hectic and stressful no question – a sad reality, for sure – but how much easier are things when we are being aware of each other? Isn’t it a little bit easier to handle that busy, hectic stress when someone gives us a hand, or a smile or a little reprieve when we’re having a tough day? Kindness and being nice can spread like wildfire, it’s a fact. We have all seen the videos spreading that same message. One of my favorites was created by an organization in the Czech Republic called Krizovatka. Ok, now you want to see it, don’t you? Here it is. Go on, go watch it. It’s worth it. I’ll wait.

So here is the thing: we all have up and down days. We are all dealing with our own demons and challenges, but that doesn’t diminish our capacity for empathy, kindness and compassion. So let’s try, just for one day, in every action, every decision, every interaction with another person, to be aware of how nice you are being. Are you treating those people the way you would want them to treat you? Call it a little social experiment. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. Let’s see how it affects our day and those around us. Then come back here and tell me what you find. So go forth, good people, go play nice! Be the reason someone believes in kindness today.

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