Good Advice from My Grandma
Anytime I asked "what to do" when someone did me wrong, my grandmother (we called her DauDau) told me to "kill ‘em with kindness."
I sort of followed her advice out of shyness. I seldom stood up for myself, ever, until I got married. Isn't it awful how much worse we treat the ones we love than we do those who are relatively unimportant?
It took me a long time to really embrace DauDau's advice. It came back to me in different phrases, from different voices. I knew I was about to loose my husband. I started reading all of the "save your marriage" self-help literature I could find. The basic messages were to be attractive, to stop trying to change your spouse and focus on what you could change about yourself. I haven't perfected the behaviors, but I have certainly improved my attitude.
It sounds simplistic, but it's not. Saving my marriage was extremely important to me, and I focused as much of my energy as I possibly could on being the best wife I could be. He was (maybe understandably) not treating me very well, but I concentrated on not reacting impulsively, on being "nice", nicer than I'd ever been. I bit my tongue, conceded to stuff I didn't really want to do. I stopped pointing out the many ways he was hurting my feelings and tried to be kind to him.
An amazing thing happened. As I let go of my resentment and concentrated on what I could do out of love and kindness for my husband, I started to notice that he was being pretty nice now and then too! Kindness is contagious!
Eventually, our relationship improved. Eventually, I had space in my attention to look at how I really applied this lesson in the rest of my life.
As I said, I was shy. I am not confrontational. I've improved in my adult life and learned to be more confident in many situations. In my career, I'm confident, for example. Socially, I help organize a very successful meetup group. But in some of my more superficial relationships, I realized that my stilted politeness in the face of rudeness was never genuinely kind.
Kindness requires an attempt to be empathetic. It's more than simply politeness. It is taking time to consider someone else's perspective, what would really make them feel better.
I'm still working on improvement, but I'm more convinced than ever that DauDau gave me the secret to happiness. The "kill ‘em" part is what threw me for so long. It's not about what you are doing to them; it's about what you do for yourself. Treating other people with kindness, with genuine concern for their well-being, makes you feel better. The point is to take the focus off of what they are doing and focus on what you can do to improve their interaction with you. Shed the victim mentality and believe in your power to be kind.
Copyright Dineane Whitaker 2008 - Please do not copy and paste this article, but feel free to post a link using this url: http://hubpages.com/_ndwcopyright/hub/Good-Advice-from-My-Grandma
More by this Author
Let's get this straight from the beginning - I'm suggesting the best bait to use for pier fishing with a bottom rig. I'll probably mention "gotcha plugs" before this hub is over, but the truth is, all I know...
Since writing about the convoluted medical insurance and hospital statements and bills arriving in my mailbox, I haven't received anymore! But today my insurance company's automated attendent was actually working, so I...
Just because you receive a summons in the mail for Jury Duty, don't get too excited about serving on a jury. Chances are, based on my experience and my not particularly random sampling of fellow Wake County, NC...