notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Niceties

I think of myself as a very nice person.

But a few days ago, I got a challenge to my niceness.

Something very nice happened to someone I dislike.

And I found myself irritated. Bitter even.

Certainly not nice.

Of course nice things happen to people who don’t deserve it.

And who is a better judge of who deserves it than me?

Well, maybe not me.

So I had to confront the fact that by not being happy when nice things happen to certain people, I may – a tiny bit – actually want bad things to happen to certain people.

That does not make me such a nice person.

I thought about this for quite a long time. At least 35 minutes. Maybe 40.

Because the truth is, it doesn’t take that long to find mistakes in your thinking – as long as you open yourself up to that remote – very remote – possibility that perhaps you sometimes make mistakes in your thinking.

The fault in my reasoning was this:

I was thinking of happiness as if it were a pizza.

pizza.jpg

Yes, Pizza can be Happiness. Especially like the one above, from Frank Pepe’s in New Haven, voted the best pizza in America.

But the analogy is flawed. Happiness is not like pizza. With pizza, if you take a slice, that means less for me.

But if you find some Happiness, it did not come from my pie.

Happiness is more like Gooseneck Loosestrife.

198008864_ad7f32f094_z

photo courtesy of Cheryl Binstock, Creative Commons usage via Flickr

When I first started gardening. I planted Gooseneck Loosestrife.  I read that it was pretty and it was hardy. And was it ever.

If I give some Gooseneck Loosestrife to everyone I know, I would still have more Gooseneck Loosestrife than I originally planted.

You could come over at midnight and take all of it out of the garden bed. And the next morning I would have more of it than you took.

And Happiness is just like that.

Gooseneck Loosestrife – under the ground – is all connected. The plants send out runners and more runners, and that’s why there’s so much of it.

And Happiness is just like that.

It is all connected.

So I return to that person – the person I dislike who just experienced a nice thing.

If that nice thing makes this person feel better, then perhaps she will not be so mean. Because she is happy. And Happiness proliferates just like Gooseneck Loosestrife.

And if this person is happier, I might like her more.  This person was someone I disliked. But now she is someone I like.

So I’m going to save some time and just cut out that middle step – the part where I resent the nice thing that happened to not-nice person.

I’ll just go right to the part where I like that something nice happened for her. Because she’s happier, and just like Gooseneck Loosestrife, she’s sending out multitudes of runners and giving me some happiness too.

gooseneckhappiness

Photo by Kingbrae Garden via Flickr. Used with permission through Creative Commons licensing.

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15 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bobbi

    Love, love, love this post. I hope I can remember it the next time I need to…the next time something good happens to who know who….you know…”that person”. But mostly I like this post because it made me want to go out and get some Gooseneck Loosestrife….the perfect entry for that garden spot with nothing in it. LOL Now if we could just get #45 to read this and practice it. Maybe we can send him some Gooseneck Loosestrife. It would look nice around the White House.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think anything would make 45 kinder. Lost cause, I’m afraid – especially because he gets such positive reinforcement from his supporters for being mean.
      Let me warn you about the downside of loosestrife – you can’t really plant it with anything else, because it just takes over. It needs to be an only child.

      Like

  3. Ok, you had me going around on this one. Love gooseneck loosestrife! I have it by the acre. If you ever need some, call. At the end of the day, there may be many reasons why you don’t like this person and that may not change. Never hurts to be an optimist though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right – I many never like that woman. But I can be gracious if good things happen for her. It doesn’t cost me anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is one of my favorites that you have ever written. And I have been reading you for, I think, about 4-5 years. I found you when I started blogging, at my 40th bday. I have followed and unfollowed lots of bloggers but there’s just some thing nice about your blog that keeps me reading. And this is one of your best yet, says I.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Meg! You really made my day!

      Like

  5. That’s a very good point, and well written, too. Happiness does spread to others, growing rather than diminishing with use. There’s plenty for everyone, and the more people who are happy, the better off we all are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes…. it is much easier to live a happy life when others are happy too.

      Like

  6. Reblogged this on The Lupie Momma and commented:
    I love this analogy for Happiness!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is amazingly inspirational and very relatable. I have just started up a blog and would appreciate any support as, among other things, I would like to write inspirational articles such as yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You sure clever are and I really appreciate it ma

    Like

  9. I’m nee to this blog site. actually loving your blogs hats off

    Like

  10. Again you prove that you are a much better person than I am. Apparently, I am a much bitter person than you are. One thing we can agree on is that gooseneck loosestrife is beautiful. I don’t think I have ever seen it before. It certainly is appropriately named.

    Like

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