Wow. I just returned from a week in Jamaica. The main purpose of the trip was to take part in my sister-in-law's wedding. I was a bridesmaid, my hubby a groomsmen, Aleida a junior bridesmaid, and Cici a flower girl. We were all in the wedding...so of course we HAD to go to Jamaica. We decided to make a week of it. We rented a car and spent a few nights in Negril, then met up with the family for wedding and resort fun in Montego Bay. First of all, I completely support destination weddings. Secondly, February is a great time to take a tropical vacation from Colorado. Thirdly, Jamaica is awesome. I could go on and on about the scenery, the people, the food, the vibe, but I want to get to the point.
My mother-in-law relayed to me a conversation she had with a native. She was commenting on how nice and welcoming and humble the Jamaican people are as a general rule, how kindness and the laid back vibe seem to be embedded in their culture and mindset. She wondered how that came to be. The native woman's reply went something like this: "I was taught from a young age that being nice to others feels good to me; it serves me. On the flip side, being mean to or angry at others only really hurts me. So we learn to be kind for kindness itself, yes, but we also learn to be nice because it feels better than being mean."
What a lovely concept. It stuck with me...so much so that I asked my mother-in-law to repeat the conversation a few days later so that I could embed it in my memory to share with all of you.
I often talk about "coming from a place of love or kindness" in my coaching conversations. After all, you cannot control the actions of others; you can only show up and act in a way that allows you to go to sleep feeling good about who you are as a person. The older I get, the more aware I am of this. At the end of the day, I want to be able to stand behind my own actions. I want to be proud of how I behaved. Whenever I feel "icky" about an interaction, it is due to my own actions. If somebody is rude to me and I meet it with rudeness, it doesn't make me feel better. Maybe in the moment I feel justified, but in the long run, I never wish I had been ruder or angrier. On the contrary, ickiness lingers because I wish I had met a situation with more kindness, empathy, patience or calmness. I wish I had "been the bigger person." When I remind myself to come from a place of kindness, I can protect myself from the remorse and guilt that follows bad behavior AND I can better empathize with and forgive the other person. Even if a hard conversation or confrontation is inevitable, I make a lot more progress when I come from a place of love and good intention.
If we can be nice for the sake of our own well being then everybody wins. It is not selfish. It is not weak. It is humane. Can you relate to this? Let me know in the comments.
By the way...the wedding was BEAUTIFUL!!!