a: of a sympathetic or helpful nature
was helped by a kind neighbor
They were very kind to us.
b: of a forbearing nature : gentle
kind treatment of animals
c: arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance
a kind act
a: pleasing, agreeable
a nice time
a nice person
b: virtuous, respectable
… I met nice girls whose skirts reached the ground.
— Jack London
The above definitions are taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary (www.m-w.com). I did nab more examples of kind than of nice, but only because nice has a lot of meanings, and I didn’t think that being exact really fit the sort of niceness we’re talking about today.
So, in recent months I have taken to putting in a reminder at the end to be kind to yourself and kind to those you encounter. Times are difficult right now, the world could use a bit of kindness. I chose that word very deliberately. I just as deliberately have not been advising niceness.
To be frank, I have reached a point of saying “screw niceness”. To me, to be nice is to be polite, to be agreeable, to just get along and not cause waves. We, as a society, cannot do that anymore. I will no longer be nice.
If I see something that I disagree with, I will speak up. Now, I will do my utmost to do that in a respectful manner, I’m not out to verbally berate people who don’t agree with me, or badger anyone into compliance with my way of thinking. But I will speak my mind. Generally, this applies to the spreading of misinformation, fake facts, racism and statements of white privilege (such as “all lives matter”, because that statement does come from a place of privilege, even if you do mean it well) I’m not going to tear a strip off of you for not liking the same usic as I do.
On the other hand, now more than ever is a time to be kind. Be sympathetic and, more importantly, empathetic to those around you. Listen to what they say. And by listen, I don’t just mean “sit there and let them vent”. I mean actively listen. Think about what they’re saying and why they might be saying it.
If you have help to give, give it. This doesn’t mean “help people even at the cost of your own physical, financial or emotional well-being”. It just means that you can use the resources you have to help others.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is this: You should try your best to be kind, but you don’t always have to be nice.
So, be kind to yourself, and be kind to those around you.