Naomie Christensen: Being Reasonable

Monday, July 29, 2013

Being Reasonable

I am almost done reading "Random Acts of Kindness." It is a collection of various stories from regular people who experience kindness in their life. Whether giving or receiving kindness, it is wonderful to experience respectable exchanges between strangers.

Though the philosophy about the book is wonderful, it is overly nice. A person feels respectful, caring and mature when helping another person. Even when receiving assistance, a person feels as though the world makes sense and life is good. I think about people who take this philosophy too far. There is a difference between fulfilling social obligation, manipulating people and letting everyone else succeed. There is a time when niceness becomes dysfunctional.

Social obligations are good. It allows time to interact with everyone in a peaceful mannerism. It is good knowing someone will act on your behalf. There is a charity close by if in need of food or clothing. There are methods to correct mistakes when life is going wrong.

I am not a fan of shopping at charities. I do not want to look as though I need charity, so even if feeling down and as though there is something I need, I will not go there. Too me, it is similar to stealing from the homeless or struggling. I have gone to a charity. I was out-of-work. I was hired at a new job and needed pants. They had to be a specific color and I was completely out-of-money. I could have gone to my Parents, yet I wanted to pay for what I could afford. This assists in understanding responsibility. I only had a couple of dollars.

Knowing someone who had problems with money, they rented a home and responsibility was necessary. They lost their job and still had to pay for rent. They went to garage sales. After qualifying for food stamps, it was important to pick up stack lunches at the church. It was difficult and important to avoid relying too much on friends and family. Eventually. they got another job. It was a long time until getting their life in order.

It was fine. Everything works out well and it is nice that everyone can place a portion of time and earning aside to help someone in need. Second chances and mercy are practiced daily without thought. There is no particular obligation and everyone lives their life because charity is a much smaller percentage than an overall lifespan. It takes a minute to drive someone to a job interview; give them a gift card, or be a friend who knows they are able to handle life's issues. There is also time to talk to each other, like any other day, without judgment or plans to help fix their problems.

Using people is bad. Sometimes people believe being nice is a job. It is not a job. If it is a job, then it is not a well paid job. Customer Service is kind of like being paid to be nice to people, yet it is mainly assisting people with their problems so a company can make money.

I have known people who think money and opportunities is an exchange for being nice. This is wrong. Companies pay people to have skills that will keep them in business. I do not understand how being nice is a job. Maybe they meet someone who has a job opportunity and make a good first impression.

There is no need to be overly nice to anyone. It is better to always act reasonably with a balance between sharing, give and take. People might want to help someone who is always nice to everyone else and give them a sympathy vote for leading a neighborhood project. However, they do not really know or do as much as their competition. They should not win because the project will be a wreck.

The sympathy vote is enough to say, "We like you." It is not more than that and everyone wants a proven Leader. When the person with more knowledge and connections loses constantly they might eventually feel no one likes them. Being overly kind to someone who does not deserve it, is being overly mean to someone who really tries to earn respect.

Manipulating people with kindness, overextends a person when they need help. People can take endlessly and never compensate loses. Especially when paying for things, take extra time to live independently or relax during personal time. It is easy to become overextended because of lose of money, job or never having time to enjoy life. A smile and warm gesture is great, yet it is a subordinate functionality of life.

Sometimes kindness is letting everyone else win. Placing someone in the position of always being the nice one is basically saying, "Wait your turn."

How many "turns" are there until they have nothing? It is nice to think of the other person. Letting someone else keep the job and looking for another job is super nice. I imagine there are times when there was a limited number of jobs available and someone said, "It is your turn. I will get it next time."

In the meanwhile, they look for another job and wonder about their future. When they get another job will they have to quit because of rumors about layoffs?

It is mean to not tell someone, "Think about yourselves and your future. Toughen up and be competitive." There will be another opportunity. Why stand in the line in front of a church to collect a brown lunch bag with a ham and cheese sandwich before realizing it is an important opportunity?

Let life happen in the way that it makes sense. There is a balance of kindness. Kind to offer assistance to someone without expecting anything. Kindness to think about consequences of actions and everyone's feelings. Kindness to wait and strive to do better to win in competitive circumstances. Let life happen and try to be a reasonable person.

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Quirky Books
Random Act of Kindness forward by Daphne Kingma