People as a Proper Occupation
What would happen if you started being effusively pleasant to other people. You smiled. Said hello without provocation. Introduced yourself. Apologized or said excuse me. What if you tried to really empathize. Used explanation instead of authority. If you met the world more than halfway.
Ask this guy. He’s a totally different person. I don’t mean it condescendingly, it is profoundly inspiring.
Being a malcontent is like a disease. It eats at you. You stew and rage and bitch and whine and yell. It’s awful. Not that it doesn’t have it’s place, but it’s generally awful. And being the opposite – not just tolerating people but actively accepting and enjoying them – it’s like an injection into your life.
When psychologists force patients to contact facial muscles to emulate, say, happiness or anger, subjects report increased feelings of that actual emotion. In other words, your externalities can become your reality.
I’m not very good at it. But when I do it, it’s transformative.
Thanks for the insights. I hope this blog sticks around.
One thought on this subject – when I let external expressions influence my behavior too much, I often feel like I’m not being authentic. It is important to know who you are, in terms of your strengths and your weaknesses.
It’s important to know when to show your true feelings and when to put on a different face and pretend to feel something else for a little while.
There has to be a balance between those two things.
Of course that’s true but it has almost nothing to do with what we’re talking about here. The reality is, if only for your own sanity, the better you treat people – deserving or not – the better you will feel.
“Everywhere, at each moment, you have the option..
– To treat this person as he should be treated”
Not sure I agree with you on this one.
Now if only the RMMB could figure out this lesson.
Transformative is the right word; it’s entirely possible to simply take a situation and refuse to let it fuck with you.
More importantly, a great hidden truth of social theory is that the easiest way to get people to do what you want is often to be nice and pleasant. People naturally seek the path of least resistance; if you provide it they’ll take it more often than not.
I like this idea and resolve to use it more often. It’s like the old adage that I use when working with people: It’s easier to get what you want with honey than vinegar.
Except for I’m not getting things from people, I’m getting that feel-good buzz from myself.
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama
Being nice is just as beneficial for you as those you are being nice to, I totally agree. It’s also the reason I like Texas and northern California better than New York and socal…the people make it easier to be “effusively pleasant.” At least in my experience.
The South brings it out of you. Northern California, I’m not so sure.
“Of course that’s true but it has almost nothing to do with what we’re talking about here. The reality is, if only for your own sanity, the better you treat people – deserving or not – the better you will feel.”
Feeling authentic about your own life can be very important to your self-respect if nothing else. I read the following a month or two ago, and it really hit home:
(advice for) Everyday life
DO – Be honest. Real men mean what they say.
DON’T – Be evasive with people in your life. Life is easier with honesty and integrity.
DO – Love your family and your friends. You only go around once, make it count.
DON’T – Let people guess what you think of them.
Ryan, does meditation nudge your tendencies toward benevolence?