Love, Self

Shhh, Here's The Biggest Secret To A Happy Life: Be A Nice Person

Photo: Serge Bielanko

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle." ― Plato

It's harder to be nice than to be a d*ck. Anyone can tell you that.

Human beings, by their very nature, are savage jerks. It isn't even our fault, really. Survival is the name of our game. And like any other wild animal born into this world, we either learn very early on to fight for what we need (and later, what we want), or we perish in a gentle wisp of puffball smoke.

Being nice? That's not in our DNA. We have to be taught the ways to make it happen; we have to learn kindness from the ground up. 

And — this is the hardest bit — we have to want to be good. We have to discover within ourselves this desire to give without wanting anything in return. When you consider that, and you consider how f*cked up this world is, you don't have to mull things over too long before you can clearly see being "nice" is a hell of a lot tougher than it sounds

I'm not all that nice. I want to be, I know that much. But I can do better. So can you, probably.

Me? I want to believe I make the concentrated, conscious effort to try and make other people smile, to maybe bring a fleeting moment of joy into someone else's existence for a fleeting moment or two on a regular basis, but I just don't know.

It's almost like, how much joy do you need to fling around before you can actually rest assured that you're doing nice right? Is making one person a day a little happy for a moment or two enough? Is holding the door open at the bank for an old lady enough? 

Is saying, "Thanks a lot!" to a the dude selling me smokes at the gas station enough? Is telling my toddler son that him using his Ninja Turtle fork to eat his microwave chicken pot pie makes me happy and proud enough? Or do I need to make sure that I'm tallying up a dozen Random Acts of Intense Kindness every single time I head out to the Walmart to grab a rotisserie chicken and some kid socks?

Here's the inside tip on all this stuff, though: Other people can judge me on my kindness but it doesn't matter. Because it's all about the soulful kickback.

I have to feel the nice oozing out of me. No matter how much of a douchebag any human might be, there's no doubt at some point they got the rush that comes from being decent and giving. There's this tantalizing egocentric stroke that runs its fingers up and down your self-centered psychological core when you watch someone else react with happiness to a kind word or gesture that comes from you.

That sentiment seems to run against the grain of what most of us have been taught is the point of being nice (old lady Bible School teacher voice), "We show kindness to others because we want them to feel God's love."  What's the big friggin' difference? Nice is nice. Who gives a damn where it comes from?

Why shouldn't you or me be allowed to get our kicks out of being good? When you stack up all of the stuff that makes us personally happy, you probably end up with a pile of one-sidedness. We get off on getting off. We take great pains to achieve monumental pleasure. And we aim the Joy Gun at ourselves 99 out of 100 times.

It's basic human nature. We simply try our best to get through every single living moment feeling as good as we possibly can.

We know that the better something makes us feel, the more we want to do it as much as possible. I'm still chasing down the long lost thrill of random shags from years back. I'm hooked. I'm all in. 

So why not allow ourselves to just orgasm out on being cool to others? Let's take a whole new look at being nice. Let's revel in the true reality of both sides of the true decent fence that separates us from the gelatinous amoeba of the assh*le masses. 

Let us feel alright about admitting that making other people happy stokes our own egos in ways that are hard to achieve with booze. Or with food. Or with Netflix binges or morning sex. Or even with all that sh*t at the same time (although, those four at once is pretty epic, I have to admit that). 

Listen. Be nice, bitches. You'll be making this mad, scary world a little easier for your fellow human. And you'll be jackin' off your big fat heart. Which, when you break it all down, is the only secret to life you're ever gonna know.