Bah Hambug! What I’ve Learned From Not Being Outwardly Rude

A few weeks ago, I promised to practice not being rude. In fact, I promised not to be rude for the entire holiday season.

What was I thinking?

I find it hard to not be rude in NYC. Incredibly so.

Yes, I’m helpful and I attempt to be as respectful as possible (saying excuse me when I accidentally hit someone, giving my seat to pregnant ladies and the elderly, trying to give people the same amount of space that I’d want, but I will curse someone out if necessary. By necessary I mean when they’ve entered what I consider my zone, or if I find they are being obnoxious to humanity.

You may be thinking, “What does “obnoxious to humanity” mean?” and I’ll tell you…Obnoxious to humanity means to a larger group of people. It could be in  a line at Whole Foods, or everyone at a bus stop (like this morning when a guy cut a line of 15 people to get his ticket). It could be anywhere really. For example, a few days ago as I rode the bus, there was no room, but there was a largish guy taking up a whole lot of space because he had his one leg propped up and he was dancing to the music on his ipod.

Now, I get it, I move along to music on my ipod, too, but I don’t take up twice my size in space on a crowded bus doing so.  Just so you know, I did not say anything to this guy, but that’s because a girl I was standing next two earlier during the ride, decided to swap standing for a seat in the middle of the moving bus and hit me in the eye with her coat. That action received a “seriously?” comment to which she turned to me and looked at me and I said, “Yeah, and?” She then sat down, glared at me and then put her head phones in at a very loud level and started texting. Sigh, people.

Oh, and then the day after, I cursed out a driver. His windows were up so I don’t know that he heard me curse him out as he made it a point to obstruct the walking lane I was walking in (I had the right away) and turn left on a red light, but you know, I finally lost my patience and called him all kinds of bad words out loud. In other words, I was rude. I not only was rude, but I allowed my anger to get the best of me.

See,  I haven’t been allowing myself to outwardly do or say anything. Instead, I’ve been thinking a lot of negative thoughts as people are annoying me. So even though I haven’t called someone a “jerk” to his/her face, I’ve been calling them that in my head all the while smiling outwardly.  I suppose thinking these thoughts  is just as bad as saying them, but I have heard that it is more important how we control our actions than what we necessarily think. Clearly though, I’m not winning any awards on either front.

And so what does this have to do with feeling Bah Hambug?

Well, I’ve been feeling very un-Christmasish. Yep. It’s weird. I normally love the holiday. But I think I had a bad start to the Holiday season – my Thanksgiving was nice, but it didn’t launch me into the level of good cheer that it normally does. For the first time ever, I missed my family. And gasp, it made me long for roots of my own- the ability to throw my own Thanksgiving feast complete with my own family. Yeah, I just went there.  Sara of the, “I may never have kids” Stroman, just went there. It was shocking to me, too! At least when I’m home with my mom and my little brother, my family is there. I find myself relaxing, sort of helping my mom, but mostly bothering my brother.

Additionally, the week leading up to Thanksgiving was a rather sad one for me. I was not very motivated to do anything, including work, and so I spent most of my time knitting, reading, watching tv/movies online.  I can’t really explain all of it because I still don’t know what was bothering me, but I do know that part of it was missing my dad and realizing that he wouldn’t be calling me on my birthday. In past years, I’ve been able to ignore the fact that my dad isn’t around.  This year, I could not, nor did I try. I just let myself be.  Which I think helped in more ways than I thought.

Anyway, what I realized since pledging to not be rude (and having had a few incidents of outspoken rudeness),  is that my reactions to people and my rudeness have a lot to do with where I am emotionally. Surprise, surprise.

If I am feeling angry about something and then someone comes along and hits me in the the eye, I call them a jerk. By not being able to do that, I think it and then become aware. I know that sounds borderline obnoxious and annoying, but it’s true.  I find that being nice requires me to be more aware of others rather than just myself. I suppose that is the real lesson of this quest-feeling more aware of other people rather than just myself.

When I truly delve into what lessons I can get from this project the number one thing that keeps popping up is how to communicate better in life.  

I don’t mean that you or I should take bullshit from anyone. No. What I mean is that we should be intune with ourselves first and foremost, but also be a bit more aware of our surroundings, including the person in front of us, hitting us, pushing us, yelling at us, or for that matter being yelled at.  Or in the words of my fella, “I was taught to treat others how you’d want to be treated.” This was to my comment of, “You are always so polite. Is that normal?” 

I think this is why I love written communication. When I write, I’m more aware. I’m more aware of my feelings and the feelings of the other person. I’m still implicitly honest, but I’m aware. I’m not off-the-cuff responding out of rage or hurt. Of course, I have written emails and letters during those moments, but they rarely get sent. Those letters become the basis of what I actually do finally pen/type.

I suppose what I really mean is that by calling a person “jerk” in my head versus actually verbalizing it, I’ve finally put the method I use when I sit down to write in on-the-spot action. Amazing, really! Or just kind of goes back to what my fella said about treating people the way he wants to be treated.

Good lesson for the holidays! Let’s see if I can keep this up beyond January 1st.

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s2 stationery & designs

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

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