i've always considered my self to be a nice person. i used to not have a mean bone in my body. but life has jaded me a little and i don't think i could say that without my nose growing now days, but i do still believe that i am fundamentally a nice person.
in the interest of full disclosure - and to stop the roaring laughter of work mates, i have to admit that i do not always employ these qualities at work. i go to work every morning with the intentions of improving, but those intentions are generally forgotten after that first phone call.
i try to show compassion, help others when i can, lend a shoulder to cry or lean on, be understanding. but lately i've began to see that you can't be nice to everybody. some people don't want you to be nice, they question your motives, maybe they've never experienced it before without ulterior motives. for whatever reason, they simply do not want it.
and then theres the other people, the people that take advantage of ones kindness. the people that just take and take and take. take, take, take it all but you never give.... you help out and rather than it making you feel good, you feel burdened by their apparent lack of respect.
i keep finding myself with the latter.
the song the weight, by the band, keeps coming to mind lately. the meaning of the song is hotly debated, but i like to see it simply. a guy helps miss fanny out, taking the weight from her, only to wind up carrying a heavier load himself.
my friend claire explained it better than i can; say you have 4 monkeys, 2 sitting on each of your shoulders. they are sometimes a little silly, but they are evenly balanced and you're able to manage your monkeys without any real hassles. but then someone asks you to hold one of their monkeys for them, and now you have 5 monkeys - 2 on one shoulder and 3 on the other. you're all out of balance and spend all of your concentration trying to keep them from falling. you are no longer able to give your own monkeys the attention they deserve.
(or something along those lines, you get the picture!)
food for thought.
i guess it's a little of my chief of the people police, self appointed title coming through. i have to realise that the only person i can change is myself. being nice one more time isn't going to magically produce the person i wish they were. (ooh, did i just detect another issue?) some people will just always be takers, they won't ever have that aha moment that i've been waiting for. and if i'm honest, it's probably got to a point where my kindness is doing more harm than good and perhaps a little tough love would be more beneficial.
i used to think it was me, i was too nice or i was trying too hard, that i let myself be seen as a push over - it's sometimes easy to take advantage of those percieved as weaker. it's sad that because someone keeps trying that they can been seen as weak. but now i'm trying to see it as a flaw on their personalities, not mine.
i don't want the takers to jade me anymore, so i'm committed to remaining nice, i just need to find a healthy balance.
i'm a teacher, and i hold high regard for the class room, but i've learnt so much, just through living, in the past year or so than i ever did in my 13 years of schooling... it's one of the clouds with silver lining of growing up i suspect.