Hardest lesson learned

November 1st, 2007

KindnessFor me, the hardest lesson learned in my life was that I couldn’t please everyone. Not that I haven’t tried throughout my life. I have run errands, done charity work, filled a need when no one else would, written letters, and helped everywhere I could. Why? Just to please others. It doesn’t always work. Actually, it is times when you are kind, hard-working, and honest that get people to really hate you.

A perfect example is when I was about 23 yrs. old. I worked for a temporary employment agency. I was hired to work as a secretary for a government research facility in San Fransisco. It was a huge facility nestled amongst trees and fields. It was extremely quiet and the large staff of scientists were cheerful and always willing to direct me. Everyone was kind except one scientist. No matter how fast I typed, fast I took messages to her, no matter what I did to please…she couldn’t stand me. Apparently, my attitude got on her nerves so much, she complained to the facility director. He came to me saying I was doing a fantastic job and that no one was unhappy with me EXCEPT that particular scientist. She wanted me gone a.s.a.p.. As she was a senior scientist at the facility, I was removed. So much for hard work and a great attitude. Thankfully, it all worked out in the end. I found a job with a property management firm and eventually became their marketing director.

Seems like my life has been throwing me “hard lessons” lately. I bought an item on Ebay from a fairly new seller. The communication with them was horrible. After waiting a week for a shipping cost, I sent payment electronically. Ten days later I get a notice that my parcel is being sent out. Two weeks later, I get the parcel. I wasn’t happy with the shipping time, but I was happy with the product. I left positive feedback for the seller and low marks on shipping. The next day, the seller leaves negative feedback for me. Today, I got two “hate e-mails” from them calling me names (i.e. “pathetic loser”, “do your children a favor and send them to public school”, etc.)

I realize that I am naive in my thinking, but let me just run something by here. Isn’t our world full of enough hatred and pain to drum up more? Why can’t people take responsibility when they have made a mistake and say they are sorry? Why do we all have to be so mean to one another? When we see something: beautiful, funny, honest, smart, kind, etc., shouldn’t we treasure it? Why do we all have to be so nasty? I know I fall into the trap of not thinking of others from time to time. That is something I constantly work on. I can say that when I show kindness and a smile, it “usually” makes the day of two people – me and the one that received them.

“Be kind to unkind people – they need it the most” – Ashleigh Brilliant

3 Responses to “Hardest lesson learned”

  1. BayAreaDM Says:

    With a lot of people, nastiness is purely a defense mechanism – they feel it keeps them from being used as a doormat. Also, they think the best way to get the upperhand, or get what they want, is by being overly agressive. This is especially evident in the workplace, where this behavior can be useful in the world of cutthroat office politics.

    I’m not sure it is a modern phenomenom – back in prehistoric times, the caveperson who grunted the loudest and swung the club first got what he or she wanted.

  2. jjabl Says:

    You know, Shan, when you get to feeling low, just go wrap yourself in your quilt and put your head on your pillow and think happy thoughts. Smile your wonderful smile and let it go…..
    I know, harder to do than to say…

  3. Shan Says:

    Ahhh…..if it were only that easy sometimes. You would think that being almost 40 would toughen me up. Guess I am just a big baby at times. However, I am learning (ever so slowly) to speak up for myself. I think that comes with maturity. Speaking your mind and defending your honor are acquired talents.

    Love the advice (and the quilt) – *big grin*

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