Friday, January 06, 2006

Hard to be nice? I wonder why...

... At a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think that digital watches are still a pretty neat idea.
... the problem remained. Lots of the people were mean and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches. Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.
Douglas Adams - "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy"

The Guide is one of my most favourite books of all time. It is a rather accurate portrayal of how humans can be seen in the eyes of an outsider. We are mean and miserable creatures and the only person who actually had the courage to tell us to be nice to each other for a change was nailed to a tree.

It's funny. Christ obviously believed that humans are innately good and can get past all the banality of life. Obviously not. He expected too much. In return for all the good deeds he did, he got nailed - literally.

Through Christ's example, we can answer this question:

How do you set yourself up for complete and utter disappointment?

Answer? It is completely believing that by being nice to people, you'll be treated in kind.

People may not know this about me but underneath my easy-going and very open-minded view of the world, I am a real cynic when it comes to human behaviour. Let's just say that I have been burned a few times to completely trust someone ever again.

I guess it is just natural for us to think that the saying "do unto others what you want others to do unto you" is gospel. It's the same thing as saying that there are certain things that we do in life that is just plain common sense. Well, if it were really as common as people say it is then how come there are still people out there who completely fuck up certain things?

It all boils down to this: humans find it very hard to be completely nice. Why? Because being nice means that one has to be devoid of selfish behaviour. Selfishness is the mother load in the whole human psyche. I cannot name a single person who does not do things without a miniscule amount of wanting something for their own personal gain. Why do I try to excel in my job and schooling? So that I can get more money and for the betterment of my career. Why are guys so nice to girls when they are courting them? So that they can get a leg over (okay, may not always be the case). Why are girls acting all hard to get even if they like a guy? So that the guy will chase them some more and it's good for the ego. Every single thing that we do has some amount of selfish reasons behind it. It is sad but true.

As a result of this selfishness, it also affects our relationships with other people. Admittedly, there are some people worse off than others. There are people who are completely devoid of any concept of "give and take". They take as much as they can but never give anything in return. These are also the kind of people who conveniently forget if someone was nice to them before. Forget gratitude, if there is nothing in it for this person you can keel over for all they care! These are also the sort of people who make friendships with people just because they may be able to use them for something in the future - not exactly a great basis for a good friendship.

I guess the only for humans to be entirely happy is if we learn to accept the fact that unfortunately, not everybody thinks the same way. Common sense is not entirely common and that just because you're nice doesn't mean that others will be equally nice to you. If you push this, you will, unfortunately, might end up being nailed to a tree yourself.


merely_by_chance said...

Hey Jen!

After reading through your posts, this one hits the spot! I couldn't agree with you more.

I for one have found this out the hard way... "through bitter experience" which I consider as my awakening.

Keep it up mate! I love your blog... very impressive!

Best Wishes,


merely_by_chance said...

oooops... speaking of awakenings, you may find this ineteresting. It was posted by someone anonymous through one of the websites i am affiliated with.

THE AWAKENING...........

A time comes in your life when you finally get it --
when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity,
you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere
the voice inside your head cries out "ENOUGH!"

Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.
And, like a child quieting down after a blind
tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder
once or twice, you blink back your tears and
begin to look at the world through new eyes.
This is your awakening.

You realize it's time to stop hoping and waiting for
something to change or for happiness, safety, and
security to come galloping over the next horizon.

You come to terms with the fact that you are neither
Prince Charming nor Cinderella. And that, in the
real world, there aren't always fairy-tale endings
(or beginnings, for that matter). And that any
guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with
you -- and in the process, a sense of
serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect
and that not everyone will always love, appreciate,
or approve of who or what you are...and that's OK.
They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

And you learn the importance of loving and
championing yourself -- and in the process, a
sense of new-found confidence is born of self-approval.
You stop complaining and blaming other people
for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you)
and you learn that the only thing you can
really count on is the unexpected.

You learn that people don't always say what
they mean or mean what they say, and that not
everyone will always be there for you, and
that it's not always about you.
So you learn to stand on your own and to
take care of yourself -- and in the process, a
sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you
begin to accept people as they are and overlook
their shortcomings and human frailties -- and
in the process, a sense of peace and
contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view
yourself and the world around you is as a result
of all the messages and opinions that have
been ingrained into your psyche.
And you begin to sift through all the junk
you've been fed about how you should behave,
how you should look, how much you should
weigh, what you should wear, what you should
do for a living, how much money you should
make, what you should drive, how and where
you should live, who you should marry, the
importance of having and raising children,
and what you owe your parents, family, and friends.

You learn to open up to new worlds and
different points of view. And you begin
reassessing and redefining who you are
and what you really stand for.
You learn the difference between wanting
and needing and you begin to discard the
doctrines and values you've outgrown, or
should never have bought into to begin
with -- .and in the process, you
learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we
receive. And that there is power and
glory in creating and contributing and
you stop maneuvering through life merely
as a "consumer" looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and
integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone
era but the mortar that holds together the
foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don't know everything,
it's not your job to save the world and that
you can't teach a pig to sing.

You learn to distinguish between guilt and
responsibility and the importance of setting
boundaries and learning to say NO.

You learn that the only cross to bear is the
one you choose to carry and that martyrs
get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. How to love, how
much to give in love, when to stop
giving and when to walk away.

You learn to look at relationships as they
really are and not as you would have them be.
You stop trying to control people, situations, and outcomes.
And you learn that alone does not mean lonely.

You also stop working so hard at putting
your feelings aside, smoothing things
over and ignoring your needs.

You learn that feelings of entitlement are
perfectly OK, and that it is your right to
want things and to ask for the things you
want -- and that sometimes it is
necessary to make demands.

You come to the realization that you deserve
to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity,
and respect -- and you won't settle for less.

And you learn that your body really is your
temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it
with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet,
drink more water, and take more time to exercise.

You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear,
and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest.
And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels
our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in
life what you believe you deserve -- and that
much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is
worth working for and that wishing for
something to happen is different from
working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to
achieve success you need direction,
discipline, and perseverance.

You also learn that no one can do it all
alone -- and that it's OK to risk asking for help.
You learn the only thing you must truly
fear is the greatest robber baron of all: FEAR itself.

You learn to step right into and through your
fears because you know that whatever happens
you can handle it and to give in to fear is to
give away the right to live life on your own
terms. And you learn to fight for your life
and not to squander it living under a
cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always
get what you think you deserve, and that bad
things sometimes happen to unsuspecting, good
people. On these occasions you learn to not
personalize things. You learn that God isn't
punishing you or failing to answer your
prayers. It's just life happening.
And you learn to deal with evil in its
most primal state -- the ego.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger,
envy, and resentment must be understood and
redirected or they will suffocate the life out of
you and poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to admit when you are wrong and
to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort
in many of the simple things we take for granted,
things that millions of people upon the earth can
only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running
water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for
yourself by yourself and you make yourself a
promise to never betray yourself and to never,
ever settle for less than your heart's desire.

And you hang a wind chime outside your
window so you can listen to the wind. And you
make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting,
and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and God by
your side, you take a stand, you take a deep
breath, and you begin to design as best you
can the life you want to live.

Jennie said...

Wow, that's a pretty long entry but it does make sense doesn't it?

Thanks for visiting!

Kiko said...

You gotta turn this post into an FAQ! =D

Hey yo I'm back from blogging holiday hiatus. And just the perfect post in your blog to read ^_^