Talking with a friend the other evening we got on the subject of being nice to others even though we don’t feel it. My friend thought that there was an aspect of in-authenticity or just being phony when we were nice to needy annoying co-workers. while not feeling that way, at all.
My thoughts were that the only thing that matters is how we act, not how we feel. Our feelings are extremely mutable; we feel rancor towards someone and they bring us a little gift when we have a birthday, now we like them. We feel friendly toward someone and they don’t respond to us in a way we want and now we’re on the fence about them; so on and so forth…
If we act in a kind or neutral way, despite how we feel, we are developing a mental/physical habit that will, in time, often change how we feel. This is good.
The phoniness comes from our intentions in acting nice. If our intentions are mostly selfish, then we are in phony territory, ready to homestead. But just a natural human aspect that could use a little help or tidying up.
Most of our “personality” and our general response system to the world, is just an accumulation of old habits (some of them older than we may know), that are so ingrained that we falsely use them to identify us, as “me”. One proof of this is the fact that many of us have had the experience of transforming some old and unhelpful habits that were not useful and during that process we were somewhat surprised that we had never noticed the negative aspects of that part of our “personality”. Hell, we may even have thought is was cute or manly.
The tricky part of this is to see the situation(s) clearly and our part(s) in it. We have to face and look very closely at our most cherished possession; our story of ourselves, and that many times, we just sort of scroll roll past those parts of the story that we know to be unhelpful, or just not fair, right, honest or even true. It’s tough to face the fact that mostly we are full of baloney; or just straw. We grow the straw, and lord knows we slice the baloney.
The good news is, that is not a problem, it’s the human condition. Not seeing clearly. Not being able to step back just a few inches, or feet, or miles from our insitence that our view may be blocked, or skewed and generally inaccurate.
That is the place where change is initiated, not just waited on while simultaneously waiting to die.
The view is great from here, its filled with me,
I like what I see, except when I don’t; and
A voice-over starts, just like in the movies, that
Explains me, and how I act and feel, to me; and then
And there my view changes to go along with my story,
About me, you, them, those, this, that; and all them
Things that seem outside of the me, yet some-
How I know can’t exist without. How, how to
Connect? Is the truth just a glance away? Maybe?