I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best. – Marilyn Monroe
I love this quote. Because I think it means, be yourself, unapologetically. And it was what came to mind immediately today.
Have you ever been watching something and someone says a line that resonates so deeply with you that you scramble for the remote to press pause, then rewind – just to hear it again?
This happened to me today. I was watching the series “Girls” on HBO. If you haven’t seen it, I very much recommend it. Anyway, Hanna says to Adam, (this is a bit paraphrased) “You’re not acting like you like me very much, so why do I want to be here?” Adam responds with, “When you love someone you don’t always have to be nice.”
Bang! Wow. Stopped me in my tracks. Because it’s so true. Isn’t it? I mean, people love to say, “We always hurt the ones we love the most.” And the sentiment is similar, but I like this far more.
“When you love someone, you don’t always have to be nice.”
I believe that. I think I do that. I think that maybe I am not always nice to the people that I love. I’m not justifying this behavior; I am just being extremely honest. And I think that if everyone was brutally honest with themselves, they would say the very same thing.
Let me clarify what I am thinking here. When you love someone, and they love you back – yes, here is the key – they love you back – you can be yourself. Your true self. You don’t have to calculate your every word or emotion. You can be “not nice” sometimes.
Love isn’t about always being on your best behavior. Love is about being exactly who you are. And that’s when you’re wonderful. It’s also when you’re not so wonderful. It’s about acceptance, understanding, patience, and forgiveness.
Now, I am not suggesting that the things you say, and the way you treat someone, doesn’t have an impact on the relationship. It does. But there are times, when it shouldn’t.
I’m not talking about big, awful, impactful, and abusive or life changing kinds of things. I’m not an idiot, I am fully aware that there are certain kinds of “not nice” that can be “game over” kind of deals. I am not talking about those kinds of things. I am talking about your run of the mill, every day kinds of “not nice.”
Let’s face it; most of us are not always our best selves. We are under stress, we have bad days. We’re cranky and tired. We feel fat. The kids have been fighting for hours and we are about to go beyond crazy. We don’t feel like cleaning the house and picking up everyone else’s crap for the gajillionth time. We don’t want to cook dinner. We don’t want to fold laundry. Scoop the cat box. We don’t want to go to work. We don’t want to work out. We don’t want to deal with anyone or anything. We are self-centered, selfish, unhappy assholes.
Maybe today, I am not nice to those I love. Maybe today my behavior and my reactions aren’t nice. And it feels beyond my control. I feel kind of like the little Dutch boy who puts his finger in the hole in the dyke, except I fail horribly. I don’t save Holland! Holland is under water, because for every finger that plugs a leak, another one appears. Maybe not my best analogy, but you get my point. I wasn’t nice and I couldn’t seem to stop myself.
Does it mean you don’t love someone when you’re not nice? No. Do they stop loving you when you’re not nice? No. They may walk away and mutter profanities under their breath about your very existence. But even so, they still love you. Isn’t that the greatest thing?
We are imperfect. We make mistakes. We take out our frustrations on the people we trust will be there tomorrow -- even if we are terrible today. Because if we really love someone, and they love us back, it’s okay.
And because they will love you tomorrow, they will forgive you for not being nice.