It has actually felt, particularly over the previous year, like people aren’t being especially great to each other. These times have actually been attempting, and it’s difficult to summon up enough social grace to wave hello to that next-door neighbor who peppered their yard with political indications of a figure you contempt. But it may be time to reevaluate the worth of niceness anyway– due to the fact that kindness is much more important, and they are not the same thing.
I came across this tweet last week, and as someone who has survived on both sides of the nation, it entertained me:
Once I was done being amused (having psychologically imagined a stereotypical gruff man from Philly who would curse at you for shivering when you’re out in the cold without a coat like a dumbass, even as he’s offering you the coat off his own back), Jordan’s point stuck with me. You can be kind without being nice, and you can be good without being kind. Generosity, as they point out, addresses the need, despite tone.
Undoubtedly, utilizing both kindness and niceness in tandem is perfect. One might turn over one’s coat without being rude about it, after all. But if the existing state of things has actually worn us down so that we require to reconstruct one skill at a time, begin with kindness.
Think about compassion as the act that accompanies (or changes) your words. It’s silently helping a struggling mama of three kids dump her groceries into her trunk, rather than smiling and saying, “You’re doing an excellent job, mother,” as you breeze past. It’s bringing a pot of soup to your ill buddy, instead of sighing sympathetically and stating you hope they feel better quickly. You’re kind if you shovel your neighbor’s cars and truck out from under a pile of snow, stop to help a complete stranger alter a tire, or time out to provide an undoubtedly lost person some instructions– even if you’re not the type of individual to bother stating “Bless you,” when another person sneezes.
You may not want to exchange pleasantries with that neighbor who lastly took the absurd political banner down; however if the wind blows their trash bin down the street, it would be kind to drag them back over.