In life, all any of us want is to be respected and when we are, either by peers, colleagues or strangers, we feel great. We feel a sense of empowerment that allows us to feel important, knowledgeable and strong. The more we are listened to, our ideas heard and presence appreciated, the more strength we possess. Real or imaginary, we feel strong as strong as a long-haired Samson and we hope the feeling never ends. Unfortunately, it always does….
Imagine the following all to familiar scenario. Imagine you are sitting at a restaurant patiently waiting for the server to bring you your check but they seem to have conveniently disappeared. Your once enjoyable meal is slowly being ruined by an insignificant stranger and though you have the power to go find them, your pride keeps your butt firmly in place. You smile sinisterly to yourself knowing you can get satisfaction by tipping worse. And yet, when the check finally arrives, you are too nice and still tip well.
Or, imagine you have been waiting in line, patiently waiting to get into a concert and a group of people join a single person directly in front of you. They all seem to know each other and they obviously care not about what others think about their butting. But you, you are positively livid at the injustice of it all. Why should they get to cut in without having to show up early, get in line and wait accordingly. Fueled by anger, you actually tell them they need to move to the back of the line and though you feel a sense of power, they all just look at you before turning around and completely ignoring you. Though you are clearly in the right, and they know it, you have no real power to move them so you are left feeling small.
There are countless scenarios where a perfectly happy you is turned into a silently erupting volcano that no one sees or cares about. Perhaps it is something as small as being bumped on the metro, not being called on in class when your hand is raised sufficiently high or when friends ask you to use their iPhone to photograph them. All of these situations may seem unrelated and trivial yet they all share one common thread – they make you feel small.
Why should you have to wait forever for a check while other tables aren’t? Why do you never get to cut in line without getting sent to the back of it? Why is it always your back that is pushed, your hand that is ignored or your face that isn’t in the picture. As Mario Balotelli‘s, Italy’s misunderstood striker, shirt famously said, “Why always me?”
It does always seem to be you that ends up feeling disrespected, voiceless and small. Why is that? Is it just your perception? Are you just one that is prone to dwelling on such situations? Are you just uncool therefore you are deserving of the frequent disrespect you receive? In life, you always seem to be Samson without the hair. You frequently feel powerless and unimportant, a nothing. Life sucks…
And yet, the surge of power you feel when you get to feel HUGE is worth it all! You have to live with all the injustices and corresponding insecurities of too many situations but that just makes your “power” moments that much sweeter. If you can, imagine yourself on the flip side of all the aforementioned scenarios. Does being the oppressor make you feel harder, better, faster and stronger?
My guess is no. My guess is that you, like me, are too nice and respectful to be ‘the jerk’ and you know what, that is good. The overused phrase ‘nice guys finish last’ is all too to true. Though you might occasionally end up being the jerk by accident, just enjoy the thrill of getting lucky and move on. The world needs more small people to balance out the overcompensating jerks. Small is the new big so relish the power of nice. You deserve it.