It’s that time of year again – the time when I get the “reviews” from my students on how I have performed as their teacher. Reading the comments is a fascinating experience for me. One student says, “This teacher is the best one in this school,” while another one says, “This teacher has no personality and is difficult to understand.” How can the best teacher in the school have no personality? Some students claim this is a life-changing course, and others claim it is boring and useless.
One of the most upbeat songs I remember from my youth was “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing,” sung by Leo Sayer. The tune was peppy, the words were great, and I used to love to sing along at the top of my lungs as it played on the radio. The idea that someone in my life could make me feel so thrilled and exuberant was, as a child, always such a hopeful idea.
I consider myself to be a nice person (my filter). I like to help other people and will bend over backwards to be agreeable and giving wherever I can. My husband would say that I give “too much”! So, what’s the problem? Isn’t it good to be giving and gracious wherever possible? The problem is that when we give out of a feeling of guilt or responsibility, and not from the heart, we can end up feeling resentful.
There is an often used word we apply to other people: “nice”. What is the definition of nice? Do we ever think about it? According to dictionary.com, this simple word actually covers many things, but a few are: pleasing, agreeable, delightful, amiably pleasant and kind. These seem like basic words that we all understand, but isn’t it fascinating how in one venue a person can be so “nice” and in another, they aren’t “nice” at all?
I was fortunate to spend the weekend celebrating my in-laws’ 60-year wedding anniversary. The whole family was able to get together in one place and toast them and their years together. In one conversation with my mother-in-law, we were talking about habits that certain people have that in some cases we may find annoying. It was interesting – as it always is – to hear that what irritates her, is not noticed by me. By contrast, things I find off-putting were not bothersome to her at all.
In the time and personal management workshops that I run, I often use this quote by Thomas Edison: “There is time for everything.” It doesn’t seem possible, does it? Doesn’t every day seem to end long before we need it to? I have friends who are down to 4 or 5 hours of sleep every night because that seems to be the only way to get everything done that needs to be done. People work longer hours, and have so many more personal commitments.