When it’s hard to be nice, be nice

instagram post

We cannot understand light without shadow. Some days, like today, I feel small, sniffly, sick, inelegant. Eloquence of mind and spirit is hard to come by. What do I do? I try to be generous with my intentions. Today, I find this especially hard precisely because I feel small. So I need to do big things to be / feel tall.

I posted this on my Instagram yesterday because I was feeling really sick and missing my bed ( we were still in Albany). I had a runny nose, my throat was swollen and irritated and I could not breathe properly through any of my face’s orifices. Perhaps because of the lack of oxygen to my brain, I found myself irritable and when confronted with a minor professional issue, I found myself getting drawn to conflict.

In situations like this, I have trained myself to pause and take deep breaths before doing anything. This technique has served me well and probably has saved many of my personal and professional relationships. But what do you do when you, physically, are unable to breathe?

In that moment, I remembered my intention for taking those centering breaths. It’s to be nice, generous, kind to others. And it’s good to be reminded that this does not always come easy, that it does require work to be good to others. That it often does not matter too much what the actual impact is on the other person – life goes on for everyone no matter how you react – but that it affects you/me in a profound way when we choose to take a certain path. And in the beginning, it’s easy to backtrack and re-trace your steps to that moment where you can reimagine who you want to be for others, but at some point, I believe the paths diverge more and more. Each moment is foundational to who we are for others.

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