Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Lost Art of Kindness

My grandmother taught me this the minute I could talk.  I can still hear her voice telling me to treat others the way I want to be treated.  In fact, this pillow looks like something she would have made and had in her home.

"If you don't have anything nice to say.....don't say anything at all."

"Treat others the way you wish to be treated."

Seems simple enough.  It basically means be kind, be caring, be respectful, and those things will come back to you in return.

Except they don't.  Maybe my faith in humanity is dwindling.  Maybe people are just too busy to stop and be nice to each other.  Maybe, with the prevalence of social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, people feel more at ease just being nasty because they don't ever need to look anyone in the eye.  I would hazard a guess that many of these comments would never be made if they were actually face to face with another human being.

Now, let's be clear, I'm not talking about a respectful difference of opinion here, or even a heated debate.  If you have ever been to my Facebook page you know there have been many topics I chose to share or post about that brought on some strong opinions of people on both sides of a given "hot topic."  And that is GREAT!  That is what I love about social media.  I love sharing my experiences and opinions and then hearing how others have experienced similar situations.  And I'm not offended by someone who disagrees with me.  Not one bit.  But I am offended if they cannot express their difference of opinion respectfully.

As actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson so eloquently put it - "I am all for Freedom of Speech, but I hold a special place in my heart for those who can do it respectfully."  I paraphrase but you get the gist.  Just be freaking NICE to people!!!

OK so here's what has prompted this little tirade I am on.  Besides the issues you've seen me post about recently regarding my wish for respect from family and friends, I'm noticing an upsetting Facebook trend lately.  Maybe it's been there all along and I've been oblivious, or maybe this whole journey of self-discovery has allowed me to see things a little more clearly and know what I am willing (and not willing) to tolerate any longer.  But people (ok SOME people, not ALL people) seem to think a happy, excited Facebook status update is their opportunity to piss on your Corn Flakes just to make themselves feel better.  When did someone's excited status update about an upcoming vacation become an opportunity for you to criticize them, question them, or tell them all the reasons they will have a crappy time?!  Seriously?!?

I have not been on a child-free vacation since before my son was born 12 years ago.  And as a single parent I have done my best to ensure that we take vacations together several times a year so that he has those kinds of experiences to look back on.  But this week (in 2 days actually) I am going away sans child for my first adult vacation in more than 12 years.  So yeah, I'm excited.  I'm happy. I'm even a bit nervous if you want the truth.  But above all else, I am looking forward to the downtime that I have not had in more than a decade.

And with that happiness and my desire to share my excitement with my Facebook friends, comes these types of comments:

- "Why would you not go somewhere tropical? Going north at this time of year is stupid."
- "You know there's still going to be snow up there right? What a waste of money."
- "It's Easter Weekend.  The place is going to be crawling with kids. Nice break!"
- "You're only going for 4 days? That's not a real vacation."

Gee.....thanks.  I don't even know what else to say!  I was in shock that people would choose to try and diminish my excitement by telling me why THEY thought my vacation plans sucked.  Nice!

I have valid, legitimate responses to all of these comments, but I'm not going to bother sharing them.  Nor did I bother sharing them on my Facebook page where these comments originated.  Why?  Because I'm an adult.  And so is my boyfriend.  We are 40-something people with brains in our heads who researched vacation options and chose THIS.  If YOU would have made a different choice, more power to ya.  I would never wish to vacation in a country like Cuba, for example, but when you post about your excitement over your upcoming Cuban vacation I will wish you safe travels and look forward to seeing your photos when you return.  Would I vacation there?  No.  But that doesn't mean you can't.  And I certainly wouldn't rain on your parade and proceed to tell you why your vacation is going to suck.  

Who does that?!?!

Oh wait.....I know.......the people who never met my grandmother.  The people who never learned "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

~ The Lazy Gourmet

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