Warning: I was too lazy to call for the usual help to my good friend Thesaurus.
2014. A new year. A new beginning.
There’s always something exciting about the end of a semester, a year, a job, any significant period of time, because as good as those may have been, you somehow expect and hope that even better things lie ahead for the new semester, the new year, and the new job. Stupid human beings that we are, always hoping, always being positive, even when nothing rational tells us it is actually going to be so. Even in the most mundane and daily situations I am hopeful. I am hopeful that after I work out and take a good refreshing shower, I will somehow open a text book and study. Yeah well, what usually happens is Thank you shower, Hello again Netflix. So it is not surprising that for 2014, a whole new year, 365 brand new days, I set myself some pretty high expectations and a goal I had never before even thought of. No more the usual “I’ll stay fit” or “I won’t procrastinate”.
The year of 2014 would be the year of KINDNESS.
My obsession with Kindness began with this article: The Difference Between Being Nice and Being Kind.
I think I’m a rather nice person. Yes I said it. And did I also tell you that modesty and humility are two other qualities of mine? I know, I’m full of surprises like that. I had no problem with being nice (why would anyone?), until I came across the aforementioned article. And it hit me. I am nice, not kind. This was a problem, since clearly, the article was telling us that as decent human beings, we should focus more on the latter characteristic. I have difficulty saying no when people ask me for favors and I have a hard time letting annoying people know that they are terribly annoying. “Sure, (smile) I can translate that 200 word text for you for tomorrow (smile), no problem, my pleasure”. What I don’t add is the cynical and sour “for no fee, when I have tons of things to do for myself, but well, that doesn’t matter, does it.” What is worse, after I’ve smiled my face off, I’ll probably go bitching about it to someone else. I may not like you, but I certainly want you to like me.
“Genuinely kind people (…) aren’t concerned with whether or not other people like them. Kind people can be assertive and set good limits.” Everything I’ve said so far contradicts this. I am very concerned with whether or not people like me and I am definitely not good at setting limits.
“The nice person is careful not to offend anyone and wouldn’t dream of expressing a “negative” emotion. (…) Nice people stuff down their feelings, not wanting to be a bother to anyone, but the problem with this is that emotions can’t be kept down indefinitely. Feelings and needs are meant to be expressed and when they’re repressed, they find another outlet.” And for me, I think that ‘another outlet’ has been Facebook, not in the sense that I pour down all my feelings online (at least I don’t think I do), but in the sense that I’m easily annoyed by what I see on Facebook, and go into irrational rants about what I have seen.
I have only myself to blame because if I really wanted to avoid being annoyed, I would simply quit Facebook.
What could possibly be so annoying on Facebook? Well, what isn’t, I ask in return.
People constantly feeling the need to show off and remind others of how tired they are, how hard-working they are, how misunderstood they are. People desperate for attention, for love, where there is none. The list goes on. I’ve been so annoyed that I dedicated two posts to this ‘disease’ some time ago (here and here).
I thus realized that I was not being kind, not trying to understand why people would behave in such ways, and just discrediting them for being stupid and… well, annoying (how many more times can I used that word?).
If I were genuinely kind, as the article said, it would “be in my nature to care“. I wouldn’t for instance, “let my emotions leak, in the form of snarky comments, whining, needling, sarcasm, passive-aggressive behavior or even outbursts of rage.”
So I decided to be kinder, which essentially for me meant not being easily ‘disturbed’ by the general Facebook population.
2014 was going to be the year of Kindness.
Do you actually know how many different types of annoying people are on Facebook? Do you really, like really, realize how annoying these annoying people can be?
Do you know how much fun I have talking about these people? Why, I asked myself, would I deprive myself of this pleasure and fun pastime, which, technically, doesn’t harm anyone, when I’m already depriving myself of Twix bars at 10:00 pm or a whole half a pound of truffle brie with some good wine? Why would I quit Facebook when it provides me with my daily dose of joy?
After all, “kind people have good self-esteem and because they love themselves as much as they care about others, they expect to be treated with respect“, the article also says. And gawd do I love myself. And so far, I’ve been treated with respect by people I’ve been nice to. “Kind people are happy people to begin with” and yes, I’m a happy person. “Nice people are needy people who inadvertently create more and more unhappiness for themselves.” – nope, not me. I absolutely abhor neediness.
So I concluded I was both a kind and nice person (I already warned you and made clear that I did love myself) and that if I was easily annoyed by Facebook, there was an absolutely rational reason behind it: some people are just annoying and it is only natural for me to be annoyed.
So screw being Kind with capital K. I’m kind with small k and am happy with it.
And here’s to my never-changing new year’s resolutions: work out regularly and be fit, try to wake up before 8:00 am, focus more on my studies.
2014 is going to be awesome.
Disclaimer: Clearly I was just having fun with my own silly interpretation of Marcia Sirota’s not-so-silly and serious article.