It's nice to be reminded that you're not a completely awful person. Sometimes it comes in the form of your Boss telling you that you've done a good job. Maybe your child succeeds in something that you taught them how to do. Or a friend thanks you for helping them move that ridiculously heavy dresser into their new 3rd floor apartment. Well, here's a free one on me; You, Reader, are not a completely awful person.
Doesn't that feel nice? Are you smiling? I hope so.
I think in this world of instant gratification, we forget about it's ugly twin, instant dissatisfaction. It takes just as long to give someone a quick complement or thanks as it does to ruin someone's day with a thoughtless comment. The difference is that the nice thing you've said will probably give someone a pick-me-up for the rest of the day, while a negative thing might stick with them for days, months, or even forever. I'd like to say that I'm not the type of person to hold a grudge, but this column is titled "Oh, Honestly", and I don't think I'm alone in having drudged up the past in a particularly nasty fight. Forgiveness is definitely on my "Things to get better at so you're not a completely awful person" to-do list.
It's really pretty easy to not be a completely awful person. It is also easy to be a slightly awful person. If this happens, it can be very hard to say you're sorry. Hopefully your moment of awfulness was enacted on someone who has been working on their to-do list. If it's me you've been awful to, I'm going to need at least one large order of sorry, and some cake. Chocolate cake, vanilla frosting, no sprinkles please.
I, for one, believe in the power of the high five. In my senior year of high school, the student council decided to create "High Five Zones" in some of the hallways. The idea was that as students passed through the clearly marked section, they were required to high five each other whether they be friends, foes, or strangers. In doing so they might make a new friend, cheer up a lonely kid, or actually give a freshman the time of day. At first we all groaned and reluctantly gave some lame low-fives, but slowly we succumbed to the power. Kids started planning intricate "secret handshake" style fives. Others held contests on the most extreme five they could perform. They actually had to end the "High Five Zones" shortly after their birth; too many high fives. Too many! Kids were showing up late to class, they were pulling trick fives on the teachers, and yes, I'm sure there were more than a few injuries. The point is, they are such a little thing, high fives, but the power of that positive smack was enough to create it's own movement.
So go out and give someone a high five today. It will remind them that they are not a completely awful person, and since attitudes are contagious, you might even get a pick-me-up for yourself.