I hope the first half of 2016 has been all you had hoped. Just when I think things can’t get any busier they do. Thank you to all the new and returning clients who are warming up their winter with Let’s Laugh workshops.
2 weeks ago I attended a conference focussing on health and happiness. On the second day our lunch time discussion drifted around to the meaning of compassion and surprisingly to me it turned into quite the debate. It seemed the group, most of whom were presenters and workshop facilitators, had very different ideas about the meaning of compassion and they wanted consensus, an agreed definition, but agreement seemed a little difficult for a few of them. I sat back quietly and listened to the differing opinions and smiled gently.
Is compassion the emotion you feel when you see suffering that makes you want to help? Or a sense of morality that sees you wanting to right wrongs? Perhaps it’s tolerance of opinions that are different to yours? Or is it simply showing kindness towards others? Perhaps it’s all of the above and more? I felt like I was back in my recent psychology exam and that it was actually a trick question, although I was impressed by the debating skills of some in the group.
After quite some time it was noticed that I wasn’t contributing to the discussion. That I'd been writing notes or doodling. To others it seemed cleard that I was disengaged from the conversation. I wasn’t disengaged, I was taking it all in and, as I tend to do when I'm listening to intense conversations I was doodling. I’d doodled the words ‘BE NICE’ in my note book. One in the group asked what I meant.
If you’ve been to one of my workshops you’ll know that I focus on the basics of health, well-being and happiness. To me the very essence of health, well-being and happiness is compassion and to me compassion means – ‘be nice’.
Sadly the word nice gets a bad rap. Some people see it as a nothing word, having no real meaning, not good, not bad, just kind of middling, a non-descriptive thread of 4 letters. Some people find it annoying, others ask what ‘nice’ actually means. To many people the word nice was ruined by parents, family members and teachers who used the word to berate them, telling them to “be nice” clearly meant it was felt they were being anything but!
It’s a word that was used as a negative when I was young, but it’s also a word I’ve always liked and to me, being nice is the very foundation of compassion.
Being nice is being present and participating in my world, being aware of others, sharing smiles, acknowledging and accepting differences, having random happy conversations, seeing and responding to needs when they arise, being generous, being supportive, being patient, saying thank you, complimenting others, showing appreciation, doing random acts of kindness, or as I call them, random acts of niceness, it’s celebrating everything, it’s – being nice.
Perhaps you have negative feelings about the word but perhaps it’s time NICE made a positive comeback.
This month you might like to practice a little more compassion. I know if you’re reading this you are already a compassionate person, but if you’re confused by the definition, as my friends at the conference seemed to be, you might like to simply take it back to basics and just ‘be nice’.
I hope you’re enjoying the middle of the year, the crispness of winter or the heat of summer, depending on where you are.
Have a brilliant rest of June, keep smiling and share the niceness.