Are we fooling ourselves into thinking we are nice people?

I try not to rush to judgement, heaven knows. But I fail after having met someone a few times. By that point I feel I have a good handle on that person’s main traits and I’ve made a decision, subconscious or otherwise, about whether or not they are nice/kind. 

My neighbour once told me, while relating a story about something, to never mistake kindness for weakness. Ok fair enough. I guess that isn’t related to my argument here but I thought it interesting. 

Each generation strives to improve on what they grew up with. In pretty sure that drive is as basic as the drive to procreate in the first place. Therefore, when you meet someone who you consider to be a grump or a meany  you have to consider that his or her parents were worse. Yes, worse! Sometimes I forget this and assume all mean people are mean just because that’s how they were built. 

So am I really a nice person or am I just improving on the circumstances of my birth?  I think of myself as kind, yielding and emotionally available. Other people likely don’t think this about me. This weekend I got quite the wake up call when talking to an older woman who to me has always seemed very judge-y, insensitive and occasionally openly hostile to her close family members. It turns out that her beloved mother (no sarcasm, she always talks about her mom in glowing terms) was draconian in her decisions and once a decision was reached, no circumstances would change it. 

I felt a gradual dawning realization that this woman describes herself as a nice person because compared to her mother, she is!  Holy crap I’m growing up, still. 

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