My youngest son made a comment while we were trick-or-treating the other night that has stuck with me ever since. We had just met a particularly jolly neighbor of ours, an older gentleman, who was clearly a happy person when William said: “Daddy, I would much rather be with a happy person even if they didn’t like me than a nice person.”
At first the comment didn’t make sense but when I thought about it for a few minutes, and looked at it through a child’s eyes, I really understood what he was saying. He would rather be with a genuinely happy person who didn’t much care for him than a nice person, that is, a person who was feigning happiness.
And I can see why. Happy people tend to be less judgmental than their “nicer” counterparts. Happy people tend to exude happiness, whether or not they are uncomfortable. Finally, happy people – sincerely happy people – tend to transcend the dourness of general culture and are thus much less affected by the ever-present tides of change.
Sincerity is a valuable commodity, isn’t it? With it, you really know where you stand. There is no pretense, no show, and you don’t have to constantly second-guess others’ intentions when they are simply being authentic.