I often hear parents telling their “misbehaving” children to “play nice”. In fact, I imagine that most of us reading have, at some point, been told to “play nice”. We humans are inherently nice–to love and be loved is literally in our DNA. It is the essence of who we are. And, if allowed, this yummy, amazing, nourishing love fills every cell in our body and trickles out of every pore. What happens, though, is that we are born into society. And from the moment that we are born we are exposed to messages that we are not ok: we need to be quieter, bigger, smaller, faster, smarter, thinner, richer, more giving, less whiny, etc etc etc. We communicate this message that others are not ok because we do not feel ok in ourselves. Why would we do this to our fellow humans? Well, quite simply, because someone did it to us. So we forget this essence…we forget that we are born of love, made of love and have the potential to give and receive love fluidly and openly. That we are “nice” at our very core and that if we could be seen for our greatness and for our loving nature, it would really just pour out of us.
So the next time you feel the inclination to tell a child to “play nice”, why not try something a little different. Because telling a misbehaving child to play nicely immediately shames and blames him. It misses the message his behavior may be communicating and it lets him know that he is not ok. So this time around stop trying to control him and asking him to change his behavior (which actually has a very useful function). Why not get down on your knees, spend a bit of time with him and let him know that you think he is great. That you think he is amazing and that he has so much love to give and that you would love to see him feel safe enough to share that love. Then take the time to help him feel safe, secure and loved. I guarantee you he will want to play nice with you.
And I’ll leave you with a poem by the amazing Hafiz…
The subject tonight is Love
And for tomorrow night as well,
As a matter of fact
I know of no better topic
For us to discuss
Until we all