I’m so mean. I’m not sure how it happened. I used to be a nice person. I liked most people I met and despite being a little socially awkward, I even got along with most everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t taken up kicking puppies or anything. It’s just lately, I catch myself thinking how I don’t like this or that person very much. OK, most of the time it’s while I’m driving.
It used to be if I didn’t like someone, I would feel guilty for being so mean and try to talk myself into like them. Aren’t we supposed to find the good in everyone? That’s what nice people do, right? So if I don’t like someone, does that make me not nice?
I finally realized that usually what I don’t like is the way that person treated me. (Yes I’m talking to you in the Mustang that cut me off on the freeway.) I’m sure this is obvious common sense to everyone else, but I’m finally understanding that it’s OK not to like being treated poorly. Maybe, it’s even OK to not like a person who repeatedly demonstrates bad behavior.
I need to be kind to myself by not sticking around to let someone treat me poorly. And it’s also important to be kind to the other person, by not reinforcing that their behavior is acceptable. It’s OK, maybe even vital, to tell others when they hurt my feelings or offended me. Communication is king. It’s one thing to agree to disagree. It’s quite another to not even give a person a chance and to write them off based on a perception of an isolated incident.
Just as I am not one action, it’s important to remember that we are all human. One wrong does not make a horrible person. I have multiple moments daily that I would hate to be the sole basis of someone’s decision of me. There needs to be a balance in standing up for myself and allowing others to space to make a bad judgement call. That’s where the communication comes in.
Obviously, I’m not hopping out of my car at the red light to tell the guy in the Mustang I didn’t appreciate the way he cut me off. But for relationships that matter, I need to be much better at sharing what’s going on inside my head and not let bad feelings build up and become a major issue. I need to learn to share the little things, so I’m confident enough to be able to approach the big discussions.