“Nice” vs. “Kind”: How These Words Can Change The Course of Your Life

I’ve always cringed at the word “nice”. Here’s why:

There’s a very important (and subtle) difference between being “nice” and being “kind” and the difference can really set you up for two VERY distinctly different life path trajectories.

My problem with “nice” is boiled down to the fact that the focus of “nice” is on people pleasing. See, “nice” is dependent on someone else to give you the “nice” stamp of approval. “She’s so nice.” “He’s a nice person.” Others must decide if you’re nice – or not nice.  And since a consensus is VERY unlikely … this can lead to a lifetime of falling short, never officially earning the “nice” stamp.

It’s so very Santa Claus.  It’s time to stop living for presents and avoiding coal, don’t you think?  Nice/not nice is a framework and a mindset that risks self-sacrifice, martyrdom, and always living for the approval of others in order to feel good about yourself and your choices.

be-kind“Kind”, on the other hand, is a character trait. You can claim it, intend it, practice it, adopt it. “Kindness” is an act, an extension of being kind. And, hey, someone can appreciate an act of kindness – or not. That’s up to them. But, either way, no consensus is needed for you to be kind.

The short of it is this:  “Kind” lives in the HEART, and “nice” lives in the MINDS OF OTHERS.

What do you think? Is there a difference between “nice’ and “kind”? If so, what is it and does it matter? Do you feel that one invites a different way of living than the other? How so? Are YOU kind? Are YOU nice? How do you know?