Every once in a while I think a gut check is needed. I’ve been in a bad mood lately. Maybe it’s all the negativity in the air. And life is stressful. Lots going on then the holidays, which are often a time of sadness for me. I know I have a lot to look forward to and much to be thankful. That doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days; days when I’m pretty much winging it and holding on by a quickly fraying thread. So I decided to make this list to remind myself I’m not an a**hole, or at least not one most of the time.
- I pick up after my dogs. I understand that their waste belongs in a bag in the trash not on the ground for everyone to step in.
- I open doors for people, thank them when they do the same, say excuse me and respect people’s personal space. I do these things, not because I’m southern or a lady, but rather because it’s the behavior that was modeled by others. My mom and grandmothers were all very kind and considerate souls. Some of that apparently brushed off on me.
- I stop at stop signs and drive slowly through my neighborhood. I do this because I’m obeying traffic laws, and I’m never in a hurry. But I do look in disdain at the cars on the street not parked in the driveways or garages of million dollar homes. I side eye the yard signs that say, “Drive like your children live here.” Why? I’m driving through city streets right outside downtown Charlotte. This isn’t the suburbs. This is not a cul-de-sac.
- I don’t litter, and I pick up trash a lot in my neighborhood. Sometimes begrudgingly, thinking why does this not bother anyone else? But I care about the earth. It doesn’t deserve to be treated in the way that most humans treat it.
- I honestly try not to judge others. I may not understand why some people do the things they do. I may not agree with or like it. But I am not perfect, not even close so it’s not my place to judge others.
- When my temper gets the best of me and I become a bit snippy to those I love, I’m always able to calm down, reflect and apologize. Having this awareness and the ability to step back has saved me so many times.
- I don’t always have to be right. I mean, I am a lot, but being right isn’t a prize that you win. And if it was a prize, it’d be a very lonely one. I can admit when I’m wrong (even if it’s just a whisper).
- I will do about anything I can to help an animal. It’s easy to be loving and kind toward animals. They make my life better. If I can repay that in any way, I will.
- I do not chew loudly or make weird sounds. It’s fine if you do, but you may always be a table for one.
- I don’t put empty things back in the refrigerator. What kind of monster does that? Oh yeah, men.
- I stand up for my beliefs. I’m not a yes woman. I’m not a sheep. And maybe this does make me seem like an a**hole sometimes. But I think it makes me brave.
- I try, some days harder than others, to leave the world a bit better than the day before. This could mean that I do a lot of little things or nothing at all. No matter what’s going on in my life or my mood, I believe in being better. I do not have a poker face so it’s easy to see when I’m not having it; although my resting bitch face may make it harder to interpret. But I’m just a real person with real feelings. And I think it’s okay not to hide them.
- I make lists like these, which must mean there is more kindness in my heart than coldness.
So this is what I could come up with half an hour. Tell me, what are you doing in your life to make sure you’re not the a**hole?