Just the other day I was all out of nice, thank goodness no one was around. Then today I met the nicest 65 year young lady who said “When my husband gets home, he just wants a quiet place, because after his long days his nice has run out.” I thought ‘Oh good, it’s not just me’.
Nice is what we are at the beginning of the day. Nice is what we are when we meet someone new. Nice is what we are most times with most people. That’s a good thing; but sometimes, nice gets all used up.
Like the time we didn’t have much money when the kids were young. I had enough to buy a small roast and we each had a small piece and then went out to one of the children’s events. When we came back I went into the kitchen to clean up and slice the remaining roast for sandwiches. I couldn’t find that meat anywhere. I knew no one had broken in and stolen the roast. The only suspect? Our Black Labrador…and he did seem very content. He must have devoured that thing in a gulp or two because he didn’t even make a mess. My nice ran out…
Or the time my husband and I are making a three and one half hour drive home. A drive he’s made countless times. Suddenly I realize we’re a few miles beyond the exit we should have taken and I say “Are you going a new way?” He replies “What do you mean? Aren’t you paying attention so you can tell me which way to go?” We have to drive over seven miles to the next exit before we can turn around or ‘re-route’, he’s still miffed and thinks this is all my fault. My nice ran out…
Sometimes nice runs out in a hurry – over small things. Like making a special trip to the post office to mail a client something they said they needed. Then calling to let them know it’s on the way. They reply “Ok thanks, we’re going out of town for two weeks, there was no rush.”
Fortunately, I have people around me to remind me that often it’s not the other person who is making my nice disappear. It’s usually my expectations being out of line with reality. The dog was hungry, the meat smelled good, and no one was around. What’s a dog to do? The clients were interested but my sense of urgency wasn’t the same as theirs.
So when your nice runs out next, step back, and remember what your mother used to say: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I’ve noticed a lot less elevated anxiety when I choose to ‘treat others the way I want to be treated’. Even if I just painted my toenails and in my hurry to get to the phone I make a beeline through the deep pile rug…
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