You don't have to like someone to be thoughtful, Dr. Robin says. And you certainly don't have to like someone to be nice or to be fair to them. But Dr. Robin says if we want to live our best lives, it's an attitude we should all adopt.
Perhaps you have gone to a restaurant where the waitstaff has been efficient—they got your food, they responded to your requests—but they weren't particularly friendly or they weren't engaging. Did you decide to leave them a small tip or no tip at all to get a point across? "If they served you well…and your basic needs were met, are you able to reciprocate and say that the right thing to do in this moment is to tip them?" Dr. Robin asks. "Not overtip them, not be overly generous, but to be fair simply because you're doing the right thing?"
Dr. Robin wants to know: Do you have to like someone to be gracious? Do you have to like them to hold the door for them or be generous to them? Or can you do it simply because it's the right thing to do? "I know for sure that if we do the right thing—if we are generous, if we are fair, if we are thoughtful and mindful because its the right thing…it seeds something good in our own spirits and our minds and our beings," Dr. Robin says.
Dr. Robin says the issue isn't about who we like and who we dislike—it's about whether or not we're going to behave like dignified and responsible and mature human beings.
"I want you to make a decision—not to consider but to actually commit and practice—that you can treat someone with dignity, with respect and with honor, and it doesn't require that you like them," Dr. Robin says. "I think that it is one of the most liberating thoughts, one of the most liberating realities, one of the most liberating ways of living in the world."
Printed from Oprah.com on Saturday, December 7, 2013