Do you ever get tired of doing the right thing? I know people who never do the right thing….ever….and they don’t care. I don’t always do the right thing (no human does), but I try. I’ve made plenty of mistakes! I had parents who had a way of making me feel guilty if I were rude, mean, unkind, disrespectful, or ungrateful…..not being nice……not doing the right thing. Still, from the grave, they have a way of “guilting” me into doing the right thing! You know, they were good parents, and gave me a conscience!
I know people who don’t give a damn if they don’t give someone the time of day. In fact, they’re so selfish, spoiled, and narcissistic, that they don’t understand why everyone isn’t falling all over them. They love being adored, and it doesn’t matter who they step on to get that adoration. If I knew that I was hurting someone by being unfair or unkind, I would feel horrible! I teach my little 1st graders to be nice, and I am notorious for saying, “Hey guys, we don’t treat each other that way.” When I see adults being petty, selfish, jealous, judgmental, and hurtful, I’m taken back to my adolescent days with mean girls. Even men can have those “mean girl” moments! They become masters of manipulation to get others to fall into their games. It’s a selfishness really, and a fear of not being the center of attention. I guess I’m not like that because I’m secure enough that I don’t feel the need to be the center of attention! So….is their meanness and selfishness really a sign of insecurity? A fear of not being popular? Or is it a fear of not having control over situations and other people?
I’ve worked with people who have passed me in the hallways as if I’m invisible. It’s an odd feeling, and I always think to myself that they are so incredibly full of themselves that they are too good to even nod, smile, or say, “hello.” This is America, and Americans pride themselves on being friendly and helpful, so why are they so rude? Depending on my mood, I might smile and say loudly in their direction, “HI! HOW ARE YOU?” This usually startles them, makes them feel a little embarrassed, and they’ll respond to me. Other times, they’ll look at me like I’ve lost my mind, and ignore me anyway. That’s actually kind of fun sometimes…….scaring them with friendliness! But I guess that’s just my twisted sense of humor…….I just tell myself I did the right thing. I made the effort to be friendly and nice. Once, when I was at a new school, I had a teacher from a different grade level tell me she would have been nicer to me if she had realized I was a fellow teacher! So….she didn’t have to be nice or respectful to me if I were a paraprofessional? A custodian? Or a substitute? Or a parent? One thing I will not be accused of is being a snob! I will treat everyone with the same respect.
Sometimes it just gets old. Sometimes I don’t want to be the bigger person. Sometimes no matter how kind or generous you are to someone, they will never like you or give you the time of day, or reciprocate your kindness. Ever. But don’t let their insecurities and selfishness overcome your kindness and spirit of generosity. If you are rejected repeatedly, you don’t have to keep being the bigger person. It’s exhausting, and can be detrimental to your self esteem and your heart (if it’s someone you care about). There’s a saying that goes, “When people treat you like they don’t care, believe them.” There are people who don’t deserve an ounce of kindness from you if they are cruel or mean to you. You don’t have to always be the bigger person. This is something I am getting better at. I can be polite, but I don’t always have to be the one to risk the rejection of cold hearted people who don’t care about me anyway! Although, it’s still sometimes fun to startle them, with friendliness when they aren’t expecting it! Hehe.