It started with the Yo Gabba Gabba! song “Be Nice to Everyone“.
“Is that true, mommy?” asked The Bella, “If you’re nice to everyone, they’ll be nice to you too?”
“No.” I answered succinctly.
“So they’re telling a story?”
“Not really, I mean you should always be nice to people but just because you are doesn’t mean some people won’t be assholes anyway.”
“Well, I will be nice.”
“Good. And those that aren’t nice back, fuck ‘em, it’s their problem.”
The Bella starts Kindergarten in 3 weeks (OHMYGOD!) and for the first time really, she’ll come face to face with the fact that not everyone will like her or be nice to her all of the time. I’m dreading trying to help her keep a smile on her face throughout all these experiences and realizations. I don’t remember how my grandparents helped me deal with them, although I’ve never cared much about whether people like me or not.
I want to be liked, of course. No matter what anyone says, they do. Some people work harder for it than others, but it’s true. Even those that claim to want to be disliked revel in the few that back up their offensiveness and gall. Me? I don’t go out of my way to be liked or disliked but I personally think I’m super nice. People do like me, usually.
But, if someone doesn’t? I couldn’t give two shits. Really, is it really my problem? Nope.
I learned that from my marriage: Jason could piss me OFF and I could be angry and yelling all day long. But usually he went off to work and forgot all about it. I sat at home, stewing in my anger, rehearsing good lines to burn him with when he got home and the argument started back up. I would take notes. He’d come back, focused on something that’d happened during the day or in a good mood for whatever reason and be surprised to see I was still holding onto whatever had occurred that morning or the night before. And not at all interested in rehashing it.
It was so stupid, yes? Who’s day did I ruin by being so mad at him? MINE. Not his. Only mine. I was such a dumb ass.
That lesson was reiterated when we split for the final time – while I was still so mad, so hurt, so hateful over everything that had happened between us, it wasn’t affecting him whatsoever. I was making my own self miserable by focusing so much on our tedious past, while he was moving on with his life, not the least bit concerned with how much I loved him or hated him or why.
So I stopped. I learned that only I could control my mood and being livid with him didn’t affect him – it only brought me down.
I want to instill in Bella five main things about interacting with assholes:
1. Be nice to people, even if they aren’t nice back. If they are mean – ignore them until they give you reason not to. Basically – never start a fight, but always finish it.
2. If you’re angry at someone, handle it. If it doesn’t go the way you planned, oh well, get over it. Letting it fester won’t do anything but make you unhappy, and since that’s usually their goal, don’t give them that.
3. The old cliché, ‘misery loves company‘? It’s true. It’s resoundingly true. If someone spends a lot of time bashing, you can pretty much be sure that their life sucks. Their parents hate them or their spouse hates them or their brother hates them or they have no friends or something. I give you a guarantee that it’s accurate about 98% of the time.
4. Not everyone will like you. Everyone will have different reasons, some of them legit, some of them not. None of them matter. Focus on the people that love you, because they will always outnumber those who don’t and if it happens that more people hate you? You need to do some soul searching because you are the problem, not them.
5. The thing that bothers people that want to get to you more than you returning their anger and insults? Ignoring them. Laughing at them. Focusing on the good, rather than giving two shits about their bad. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. Nothing will piss someone’s guts more than them ranting about/at you and you smirking/ignoring/walking away.
If it happens that the entire world ends up hating her though, for whatever reason, be it that she has a big mouth like her mom or a big head like her dad, I hope that The Bella knows that no matter what, she’ll always have a handful of folks that think she’s the best thing to ever hit Planet Earth.*