Who you are is irrelevant if you are not nice…

Before I launch into what inspired me to write, I want to apologise for being away for a while. Life was happening in the real-time realm, and well, I’ve been regrouping my existence with love and support of superb family & friends.

Now, I pulled out my laptop on a Sunday morning BEFORE finishing my cup of tea. I stress on that because that means it must be important to get this out there. It is.

Life can play out in many scenarios, but the easiest way to get something done is to be nice. And wouldn’t it be a stunning world, if we all tried that? It doesn’t matter where you come from, where you are going, what your aim in life is, whether you had a shitty day, a horrendous month, or have had a horrible year (that’s another conversation of inner wellbeing which is personal and unique to each individual). Bottom line is, if you expressed yourself in a polite manner, a manner in which you would like to be addressed, chances are you will get the desired result.

This blog was triggered by a video of a resident telling a dog walker off about her pet pooping. It could’ve been a civil, “please clean up after your dog, dear.” And would’ve been responded with a, “Sure, of course, aunty.” Instead it went into a four and a half minute rant from both sides screaming about rights and the lack of them, derailing with unhinging melt downs all around. Why? Why can’t we just be nice to each other in this big mess of a world we live in?

I’ll elaborate with my own example. Walking the talk and all that jazz…

I was in the security line of an airport recently. Post 45 minutes of standing waiting to put my bag through the x-ray machine, and rolling my eyes at people around– cutting lines, racing with children, panicking, and general regular rush havoc, I reached the security curtain. The lady checking me said, “take off the watch and put it through the x-ray.” I snapped; it was her tone. I growled, “never been asked this on this circuit before, just finish up.” It escalated to us talking badly at each other, me storming to throw my watch into a tray and muttering, clear to everyone that I was throwing a tantrum. I was in and out of the security check, while we both kept muttering angrily.

Everyone was uncomfortable by now- passengers and security. I was being sarcastic in front of the x-ray guy, and then fumed off onto the escalator. I reached the top, and stopped.

What am I doing? She is doing her job, I had 45 minutes of this, she does this every day.

It was so stupid of me for losing it on someone for doing her job. I walked with determination to the the elevator, knowing if I don’t do this, I will regret it. On the way down, I’m thinking “deep breaths Madhvi, don’t screw this up further.” I was feeling completely out of place, in terms of behaviour.

I walked to the booth, not sure what I am going to say. I wasn’t sure what would be on the other side cause she was not happy a few moments back.

I knocked, “Ma’am!” I said with authority. No answer…

“Ma’am!” Again in a, I-mean-business voice…no answer.

I gingerly pulled the curtain, you are not supposed to do this at airports…she was standing with her back towards me, “Ma’am?” my voice softened when she turned. And before she could say anything, I blurted, “I’m sorry, I was out of line, you were doing your job, and…” she cut me off, “It’s ok, the fact that you had this realisation is enough.” She smiled, I smiled. We were short of hugging. And, I went back up the escalator.

It took nothing to apologise. It felt right.

And, I felt normal again.

It takes literally nothing to be nice. Everyone has issues. It’s life. But you don’t have the right to displace your issues and project them on others. There is a way. There is one way. Being nice.

Niceness doesn’t take anything. It’s a breath before acting or reacting, “I can say it nicely and actually see the outcome I wish to see or I can scream, look like a mad person, and not get what I wish to in the first place, and activate a completely different chain of events.” Choose wisely.