Who said you should be nice to anybody?
This is a common problem with a ‘morality’ based approach. The conclusion is already formed, and then we search for ‘noble’ justifications. Worse – we cite some scriptures and swallow it whole. Without investigating why.
We should examine at which point “being nice” or “being bad” starts.
Take two kids fighting. We get alarmed, but still find it cute. We do not call either of them ‘bad’. But trust me, the kids are sure that the other is the Devil!
We do not lose our cool, but the kids do. Why?
It is not because we are being nice to bad people, but because we do not SEE them as bad people. We see them as cute, innocent, ignorant – but not bad.
We see they have a conflict but surely do not see cause for a physical fight, but they do. We think that cause is funny. They think it’s extremely serious. They are fighting for a ’cause they truly believe in and are ready to suffer’.
But there comes a time when WE lose our cool too. Maybe you would have talked patiently, but you are getting late for office. Maybe you have had a bad day at work.
Suddenly we lose our ability to see it as their ignorance. We think our anger is being caused by them. The kids are the same, their causes are the same. But suddenly the kids become ‘notorious’ , who just ‘dont listen’…maybe they deserve a spanking?
The moment we judge someone as ‘bad’, we are not being nice any longer. In fact, “being nice” after this point is just pretending. Being condescending. I might do those kids a ‘favour of kindness’ 10 times, and then suddenly explode and thrash them at the 11th time and leave them more scared and confused than ever.
Every ‘bad’ person sees his reasons as completely true and extremely important. Really nice people understand this, even if they might not know his ‘logical reason’ behind it, nor ‘agree’ with it. It’s not sympathy – it’s empathy.
When we judge someone as “bad”, it just means we have lost touch with reality. Succumbed to our weakness.
An unconscious “moral commandment” based approach would lead us to two results:
- We still be nice because we should. In real-world terms, this is having weak boundaries. An invitation to be exploited. We justify it as ‘trying to transform the other person’. Who are we to transform? And what’s our qualification? Our pretence to be nice?
- We stop being nice because that’s what’s “needed”(another ‘should’) In real-world terms, this is having high defences, fast to anger. A cause for violence. We justify it as based on scriptures, saying ‘violence is sometimes needed’ etc. So convenient
A conscious, aware approach owns our own feelings. It accepts not the other person(that’s ‘approval’) but our own reaction. It seems that we have lost touch with reality and the ensuing judgements, anger is just our mental projection.
It accepts that we are sliding down into ignorance ourselves.
It is aware that any action born out of this ignorance might have harmful results.
It accepts that it is human to have these reactions too. Does not resist. Let’s them fade away on their own. Takes responsibility not to act until then.
Then it decides the course of action.
Sometimes it’s a hug, sometimes it’s a slap.
This might be judged as “nice”, “bad”, “abusive”, “pampering”, “appeasement”, “spoiling”, “scaring” by others based on their own consciousness.
But our conscious awareness does what is needed. And it understands that it is doing it’s best and might still be unaware of it’s limitations.
It is not based on “proving intentions”, it is based on “Accepting consequences”
It does not judge as ‘bad’. It does not ‘try to be nice’. It does not follow any ‘shoulds’. It need not – because it is directly in touch with reality.
So “being nice” or “being bad” is a function of our ability to be in touch with reality especially in face of reality that we do not want to accept and cannot accept.
You have no duty or right to transform others. If you succumb to your limitations, and justify ‘badness’ – you lose. If you do not accept your limitations, blame others and fake ‘niceness’, you lose. If you accept your limitations, have response-ability and respond appropriately – everybody wins.