Everyone sometimes has a bad day and one of those unfortunately happened to me recently. I tend to pass my moodiness on to other people and at the end of the day have conscious pangs of regret. I asked myself- why I do not try harder?
I searched and found the answer. Niceness is one of the most abused virtues. Through centuries we’ve been giving it negative qualities to the extent that it becomes almost anti-virtuous. Jesus said “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” And the first archetype of a nice/weak person was created.
Then the period of the Romanticism who had profound influence on our reality. The adventurous Romantics made the connection between being nice and being boring. The romantic hero was spontaneous, seeker of sensations, creative. Key Romantic poet Percy Shelley could leave his wife for Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in the name of free love: passion before niceness.
As we know wolves tend not to be nice, they prefer to eat grandmas or destroy pigs’ houses. Therefore, you won’t be the Wolf of Wall Street if you are nice. Ladies and Gentlemen that’s the legacy of capitalism.
And last but not least – the nice person is perceived as not attractive. We all know that in our society “bad boys” are perceived as attractive. Literature, music and films all the time reinforce this image; who does not find Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski attractive? Who hasn’t heard about Fifty Shades of Grey?
I find this very disturbing as I meet more and more people thinking it’s true; that the only way to be a man of success is to trample over people; like Frank Underwood from House of Cards, not only destroying but also killing those who threaten his career. I remember hearing from some of my friends that he is their role model.
Is it not devastating for our society that this is what people feel that they should aim for? We need to remember that maybe nasty characters in fictional works add some ….. Yet, in reality being hurt by those we love in real life is devastating, that somebody’s rude behaviour can ruin our mood, that after being nasty we have pangs of regret. At the end of the day we all depend on the “kindness of strangers”. At the end of the day we want to have a true bond of love and friendship with the people around us.