Small Pleasures

Reverb14 is a prompt-a-day series for the month of December designed to reflect on 2014 and project hopes and dreams for 2015.  Throughout December,SarahKat and I will post each day with a new prompt.  Join us by writing, or join us by reading.   Follow us on Twitter @project_reverb and #reverb14.

Small PleasuresWhat small pleasures did you discover this year?

1) Be a Detective: I discovered that there IS a way to avoid conflict with people, and it’s actually a kind-of nice thing. All you have to do is ASK. Ask questions. If something seems not-right, ask what’s going on. Sometimes, you learn something about someone else, and sometimes, you can prevent precarious situations from going all the way over the cliff. For instance, just the other day, I had a professional situation where someone’s response was completely disproportionately harsh to the stimulus. Simply asking: Can you tell me more about the context of this situation? gave this person an opportunity to tell me that there were some issues farther up in the system — that I could resolve pretty quickly — that would not only resolve the situation at hand, but prevent further issues.

Ask questions. It costs very little, and it often pays off in spades.

2) Be Kind: The truth is, you never known what someone else is dealing with. You see these sort-of cheesy Reader’s Digest-type stories all the time at Christmas where someone is the neighbourhood Scrooge, but it’s only because he/she suffered terrible trauma that nobody knows about.  Because the local Scrooge is sort-of a jerk, everyone’s mean in response, and it’s a terrible feedback loop until one tiny child performs an act of kindness that blows the whole thing apart, and everyone lives happily ever after, amen.

But really, what I am saying is that I have learned this year just to be nice to people. I had a lot of medical stuff going on this year, and I wasn’t exactly as forthcoming with even my closest friends as maybe I should’ve been. And while other people don’t have a right to your information, if you don’t share it, then they can easily claim they can’t know to be nice to you.

Given that experience, you have two choices: You can choose to be a jerk because you spent half the year rattled, or you can choose to be nicer to everyone. I picked the latter. Again, this cost nothing, and it proved to be a simple pleasure to be able to provide comfort and kindness even when others chose to be jerks.

3) Be Honest: Once you get into the habit of being honest, even though it’s not always the prettiest thing, it’s a small and delicately pleasurable thing. And I don’t just mean honesty vis a vis other people. I mean Being Honest With Yourself.

We will always tell ourselves lies in order to live — mostly white lies; mostly the kind of social niceties required to get by in our daily living. I’m not judging that. What I am saying, though, is that it’s rather nice to get past that Afraid Stage of your 20s and 30s where you’re too scared to tell the truth, and where you want to be Seen a Certain Way, and where you do things because you care more about the way other people perceive you and less because you actually want to do them.

I’m enjoying this small pleasure in particular these days.

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