SLICE OF LIFE: NICE VS. KIND

Every Tuesday Two Writing Teachers provide an opportunity  to share your writing.
Every Tuesday Two Writing Teachers provide an opportunity to share your writing.

On Sunday I was reading Earl Dizon’s, The Chronicles of a Children’s Book Writer,  post.  Earl was discussing the difference between being a nice person and a kind person.  He felt as though he was a very nice person and does very many nice things for other people and organizations but that he wasn’t truly kind.

Earl took his individual thoughts and extrapolated them to the world in light of all the horrible bombings and killings and felt that the citizens of our planet lacked kindness for each other.

This post, more than any other that I have read lately, gave me pause to think.  My mind has been all over the map about this idea of being a nice person versus a kind person.

After I read Earl’s post I read an article in Meditation Magazine by Kevin Ellerton that totally shot holes in my definition of what a nice person is:

The definition of nice is someone who is pleasant or agreeable or something that is in good condition and that is pleasing. An example of nice is a description for a person who is friendly and who everyone likes. 

BOY HOLDS SCHOOL DOOR OPEN FOR GIRL, 1965
BOY HOLDS SCHOOL DOOR OPEN FOR GIRL, 1965

According to this article the nice person is focused on himself – he does nice things in order to be perceived by others and himself as a “nice” person.

THE DEFINITION OF A KIND PERSON IS HAVING OR SHOWING A TENDER AND CONSIDERATE AND HELPFUL NATURE; USED ESPECIALLY OF PERSONS AND THEIR BEHAVIOR, CHARACTERIZED BY MERCY AND COMPASSION.

kindness

Again according to this article a kind person is focused on others – all he wants is to relieve the suffering of the living creature in front of him.

One of the conclusions I came to after doing all this reading and thinking is that kindness is niceness on steroids.  It springs from the same well and is activated by need in a time of suffering.  I don’t agree with the idea of being nice as being shallow.  I am thinking of kindness as a muscle.  By daily reputations of niceness, you will build that muscle.  So, when you are called upon to act, your kindness muscles are very strong with the muscle memory of being worked daily by niceness reps and do not tire from acting kindly.

Earl is starting a kindness project.  If you are interested in learning more about it you can reach him at  earldizon [at] gmail [dot] com or The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer – Earl Dizon.

Wishing your days are filled with niceness and kindness,

Bernadette

 

About Bernadette

I live in the small town of Haddonfield, NJ. I am at an age in my life when I seem to spend time thinking and musing about life. These musings are usually stimulated by my walks through Haddonfield, my reading of books and fellow bloggers, and my interaction with my group of fabulous family and friends.

17 Responses

  1. Bernadette,
    I love how you took Earl’s ideas and tugged at them to make meaning. I’m thinking the difference could be how we see our world. Whose shoes are we sitting in as we view our actions? Are we thinking of ourselves or others? I’m working on those muscles to see and feel acts that give comfort and hope to others might help get us there. Thanks for this start to my morning.
    Julieanne

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this, I’m eager to look up Earl’s project. Just last night I was speaking with friends about the power of hearing positive stories. If we heard more of them all the time people around us might feel more hopeful and less hateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. robjodiefilogomo

    What a interesting take on the two words. Not that we should make “nice” a bad word…goodness knows it’s still better to be nice than not. But being kind to others (and ourselves) is a great concept to strive for every day! Thanks for this reminder Bernadette. jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have often used “nice” and “kind” as synonyms. I can now see that they are not. I like your idea that they are muscles that grow through repeated use. Something for all of us to meditate on.

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  5. I love the way you thought deeply about each word. Now you have every reader doing the same. Perhaps that is why “Choose kind” is a slogan and not “Choose nice.” 🙂

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  6. Whatever the origin, nice has taken on an aura of inauthentic. It feels like the forced apology. It seems like the soup kitchen volunteer stint that is motivated by guilt. It can be the invitation extended to an unpopular person to join a lunch table but then the discomfort of ignoring that person–yet getting the credit for not including them. That’s the say, any kindness has the potential to be fake. Whether that takes on the label of “nice” and “kindness” is the genuine version of nice, I’m not sure. However, I absolutely agree that doing “kind” things even when we don’t want to is the means to strengthening our authenticity and becoming more naturally kind and compassionate.

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  7. Earl’s post made me think too about the difference. I love that you found a new way to think about it, too, kind being “niceness on steroids”. I think it might also have to do with actions, the ways we “do” for others, and looking for ways to help all who are in need. It’s an interesting conversation started, Bernadette. Thank you!

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  8. Interesting, Bernadette. I can see how kindness could be seen as niceness is action (or on steroids, as you say) 🙂 Does that make sense? I think kindness can make a difference where perhaps niceness doesn’t take that next necessary step. Both are better than meanness and cruelty for sure!

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