Growing up, my mother would always tell us to be nice to everyone, because we never knew who we might need to ask for help some day. Growing up observing her, I found that without expectations, she was just a generous soul in general. She was kind to everyone. I know this, because she always came home with small gifts or treats from her customers. One of her customers loves her so much that, even without having ever met me, he somehow always remembers my birthday with a card and $20. Basically, what you get from my mother is a good example of “Love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Lately, I’ve found myself in a bit of a pickle. How does one love thy neighbour when thy neighbour has taken advantage and disrespected thyself? I really don’t know how to suck it up and smile on when I can barely look at the person. In situations like this, I’m never outright mean or rude (at least I hope not), but it takes so much effort just to say, “Hi, how are you?” I wish so badly I was one of those people who can keep calm and carry on with utmost grace while the other remains rude and disrespectful, but I just don’t know how to do that without making myself fume over having to force my amicability. So, instead I find myself trying to do little nice things every now and then to make up for my…I wouldn’t say unfriendliness, but maybe colder demeanor.
Then I’m further torn, because do I keep trying to be nice and do nice things so that the other person can take further advantage, or do I just stop all together? This time, I had a hard time finding a reason to keep being nice. I even went to mass hoping the answer or inspiration would dawn on me as it sometimes does. However, it was not my faith that sparked the inspiration, it was my sweet man who inadvertently inspired the good in me to come out. Not to throw him under the bus or anything, but he was actually trying to convince me to stop trying and to just not care anymore, because he felt this person was not worth my energy and efforts. However, because of this attempt, and thankfully, I found a reason to not just be nice, but to be extra nice. I suppose it sounds almost spiteful when I put it that way; however, I hate when I’m not nice. I like being good to others, because everyone deserves to feel loved—minus the truly heinous black souls on this earth. You always hope that even if someone may not “deserve” the good treatment he is receiving, that one day he’ll grow up and be grateful for it.
You know, I love Dove chocolates that have nice little messages on the inside of the foil—it’s the only reason why I’ll ever eat Dove chocolates—and once I opened up to a message that read, “Joy is contagious.” That is truth. What we share with the world is contagious—whether it’s good vibes or bad vibes. In my life, I’ve come across people who are just energy vampires, and I had to learn to cut them out of my life, or at least cut down their presence, because I didn’t want their negative juju to rub off on me. Whenever I’m around such people I feel like a heavy weight is pressing down on my shoulders bringing my entire body and energy level down with their negativity. So, I try to surround myself with people who lift me up, so that we can lift each other up. There’s a lot of terrible, inhuman things happening in the world, but there’s still a lot of good, and a lot of potential for good.
So, I think that “loving thy neighbour,” is so important, because hopefully when we love our neighbours, they are then loving their neighbours, and we continue to spread love and joy in the world. Lord knows the world is never short on love and joy. And when you're having a hard time loving your neighbour, find a reason to.
The sad truth is that some people we encounter may never realize this. Some people may be blind to your kindness or others’ kindness, and they’ll go on living miserable lives. Still, that cannot discourage you from loving your neighbour, because there’s no loss in it for you. When you love and accept love into your heart, you simply cannot lose.
BIG LOVE & HUGS