The other day I made a comment off-handedly and the recipient said, “Oh, that’s so nice.” I didn’t like that compliment. Yes, I realize it’s not nice of me to judge a comment about being nice. Upon reflection, it’s because I don’t like the sound of me when I’m doing nice. And believe me, as a former sorority girl, I can do nice!
Here’s how I see the difference:
Nice: Off-handed bromides about someone’s appearance
Kind: Genuinely complimenting something you like about someone else
Kind: Warmth from within
Nice: Saying what someone else wants to hear
Kind: Listening to what needs to be said
Nice: Wishing someone a nice day
Kind: Mustering an internal energy to blow love, safety and warmth in the path of another
Nice: Holding the door open
Kind: Walking with others across thresholds that are challenging for them
Nice: Wearing a mask
Kind: Dropping your pretend mask so that you can been seen
Nice: Offering platitudes so that get you something
Kind: Exhibiting an expansiveness that allows you to give something
Nice: Walking away from a conversation in order to avoid conflict
Kind: Authentically showing up to a relationship so that it can grow
Nice: Something that brings a smile to your face
Kind: An experience that gives you goosebumps all over
Look, I’d take nice over a punch in the face – but what I really am blown away with is kindness. For me kind starts on the inside and bubbles forth in an unstoppable force of love.
As a reformed nice person, I have to work at switching to kindness but when I get it right, it’s the sort of effort that boomerangs right back at me. When I get it wrong and someone calls me nice, I’m learning to hear it as a reminder that I’m probably swimming in the shallow end of my sincerity and expansiveness and need to go deeper.
Do you have any thoughts on nice versus kind or am I the only one with this hang up?
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