Be Kind, not Nice

I watched a video a while back where a woman said she tries to be kind not nice and it made me wonder what is the difference, I thought they were the same.

This site has a long list of the differences between kind and nice. Here are a few I agree with:

  • Nice is externally motivated (fear of judgment). Kind is internally motivated (love for others).
  • Nice lacks boundaries; it fears the word, “no”. Kind has solid boundaries; there is no fear of “no”.
  • Nice is weak. Kind is strong.
  • Nice suppresses feelings. Kind feels it all.
  • Nice avoids confrontation and retreats into silence. Kind confronts and protects the innocent.
  • Nice worries. Kind believes.
  • Nice seeks approval. Kind is indifferent to approval.
  • Nice says yes when they mean no and no when they mean yes. Kind speaks truth.
  • Nice fears. Kind loves.

I wanted to be able to say I’m kind not nice but I might have been just nice my whole life: externally motivated, driven by the need for other people’s approval and validation; craves acceptance and is fearful of rejection.

What is confusing is the need to please people and genuinely liking people to be happy.  This makes me think the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but might exist on a spectrum. My 2018 goal is to be less nice but more kind:  have good self-esteem without looking for approval. I am already less concerned about what others might think of me and more interested in doing the right thing so maybe I’m on the right track.

If a person is kind, he/she is naturally helpful and generous, except when doing so might cause himself/herself harm. Kind people live in a state of balance, being as kind to themselves as they are to others. They strive to make a positive contribution to their families, companies, and communities, but never at their own expense.

 On the other hand, nice people are out of balance in their quest for external validation. They put the needs of others ahead of their own needs, trying to please until they become exhausted and aggravated.

The nice person avoids confrontation for fear of upsetting anyone. He/she has trouble saying “No,” and rarely asks directly for what he/she wants. Fearing rejection, he/she can’t express any angry feelings that arise.

The kind person, on the other hand, isn’t afraid of confrontation. They are able to speak  their mind clearly, directly and respectfully, so people know where they stands but aren’t likely to take offense.

The nice person can’t be authentic, and is uncomfortable with feedback. The longer people continue to be “nice,” the more alienated they actually become from themselves and others, losing with their true needs, feelings and opinions. Their relationships lack intimacy or fulfillment.

The nice person is uncomfortable with feedback. His low self-esteem makes external criticism feel particularly hurtful. He has a harder time taking in valuable information about how he might improve his performance at work or how he could be a better employee, spouse, or friend.

The kind people don’t have to avoid situations where they would be forced to agree to things they don’t want to do, they set good limits with others, and because they doesn’t allow themselves to be mistreated, they can be cheerful, easy-going and approachable.

The rest of this article share more thoughts about the difference between being kind and nice.

Think about where you fall on the spectrum of kind and nice.

No wonder Ellen ends all her shows with “Be kind to one another” and not to be nice.


Published by Cimmy35

My very first blog experience was when MSN had "Spaces" (long, loonnngggg time ago) and mine was a true reflection of my personality: pink in every customisable option and full of nothingness and nonsense. I created this space to try my hand at writing and sharing what I learn and discover about life, love, and the world in general, with much less pink. Thanks for visiting and enjoy!

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