A person being terribly kind the whole day felt like something out of a Hollywood movie. I pictured smiling people and those out of touch with the world, like in the movie Pleasantville. There are opposing preconceived notions that Loyola University Maryland is a friendly campus, but at the same time many of the students are wealthy and pretentious. I cannot put myself in the later category, but with my teenage years almost behind me, I’d like to be able to firmly say I am a very kind person. Being in an environment with many clashing opinions and social standings, unlike Pleasantville, I was slightly doubtful of this assignment. Secretly, I was more afraid that I would not be able to go a whole day saying kind, useful, and truthful things; this petrified and embarrassed me.
I reminded myself the night before of the big task for the next day. I couldn’t think of anything worse than waking up in a bad mood, and ruining this self-observation early on. I woke up to get to work, and instead of hitting snooze for over an hour, which usually leads to my roommate walking up, I only hit the button once and went unnoticed. I had little human contact on the way to work, but once I arrived I put on a smile that was more genuine than I planned and said “good morning” to my co-workers. This was a new crew from last year, minus my best friend Paul, and I realized I wasn’t as close with them as I wanted. Usually Paul and I just talk amongst us, but this time I opened the discussion to everyone. This one girl, we can call her “Bri”, tried to tell me her parents were on Secret Service missions, that her boyfriend is forty in El Salvador, and that she herself was moving to Puerto Rico shortly to pursue an experimental degree. Although I had my doubts, and would have loved to poke fun at her, I realized this must have been her way of coping with her world. I laughed it off and told her that her life was interesting, instead of pushing her with my words and making her feel uncomfortable. I think this helped me as a person, because I related the situation to how little children make up stories to sound “cool”. I bet “Bri” just wanted to make some new friends, and that day I decided I would be one of them.
I went to class, took notes, and participated with useful comments. I did not feel as if my class time was affected positively or negatively by the iExamen. My brain doesn’t wander too much when I’m in class, especially this day with only fifty-minute classes. I used my time wisely by focusing, but once I left class I was really working hard to stay on task with the reflection. I took a ride through Northern Parkway to get to Michaels craft store. I sang to songs on the radio, observed people inside and outside the store, and had interactions with employees. I found that when I kept an open mind I was able to not get impatient with the long line, and did feel like I needed to move fast paced like when I am home in Boston. I strayed away from social media this day.
It was only my friend and I so it was easy to stay focused on the task. I am sassy by nature, but she is quiet and kind-hearted. I love to make jokes; I tend to say things that are truthful and people preserve them as funny. These are not crude jokes, but I do know from this self-observation that the jokes I usually make may need to be re-evaluated more positively. Jokes can be one-sided, meaning they make people laugh but do not make the speaker feel good. Through this iExamen I learned that being nice is the fix for this, because they are just as happy but now the speaker benefits from the kindness as well. I enjoyed the feeling I had when I was vulnerably truthful and compassionate.
At dinner time I was feeling exhausted. It was not actually hard work to be kind, truthful, and useful, but to be conscious of it took effort. The people in Pleasantville make it look easy; they always have so much energy and smiles on their faces. I was disappointed that I found it a big challenge to complete this iExamen, and was fearful I wouldn’t be able to be this conscious everyday. My goal is to practice this type of self-observation one a week. I hope that this task will come innate to me after a few times. The rewarding feeling of being kind is irreplaceable. There is no one saying I have to like everyone I encounter, but I do have to be nice. Nothing makes people different than me, and I owe them the respect I want in return. After all, this is the golden rule I learned in Pre-school; I should put it into use almost twenty years later.