The other night I was teaching one of the Self-Defense modules, and the subject of ‘nice’ and ‘kind’ came up. It’s interesting how much we know the difference, yet often fall into being ‘nice’ rather than kind.’ Are you nice or kind?
Why the Indoctrination
Our indoctrination into being ‘nice’ started when we were very young. Parents and caretakers not wanting to be seen as ‘bad parents’ often chastised us into being ‘nice’ when we did something/said something that was not socially acceptable, to or at another person. Instead of telling us what to do correctly, they simply told us to be ‘nice.’ This conditioning has led many of us to ‘give up something,’ as one individual stated in the Self-Defense class.
‘Nice people’ are always giving up something to someone else. Nice people want what I call “The 7 A’s:” Approval, Acceptance, Attention, Acknowledgement, Affection, Adoration, Agreement. They want people to LIKE them. They have a great fear of rejection, and have a hard time with confrontation. They don’t want to ‘rock the boat.’ She’s your aunt, be nice. He’s the gardener, be nice. She’s the pharmacist, be nice. He’s the doctor, be nice. He’s your playmate, be nice. He’s my friend, be nice. He’s your uncle, be nice. They also make the easiest victims to all levels of crime. Perpetrators can smell this. Being nice is an emotional challenge for sure, always giving up something to someone else.
This can be detrimental to you and your safety
Perpetrators use being ‘nice’ as a way to manipulate and deceive. They know how to act it. They want to build your trust. So they are ‘nice’ to you. They give you compliments, offer to help you, ask seemingly innocent questions (I say ‘seemingly’ because someone asking you where Bay Street is located doesn’t seem like an out-of-line question, however, with every word you speak, a perpetrator is gathering information about you. More about this another time.)
Being ‘kind’ on the other hand is a state of being in control of your power. A kind person is able to “CUE,” show Compassion, Understanding, and Empathy, without allowing others to step all over you. The moment you are uncomfortable, you check in. What are you sensing? What are you feeling? What is this person attempting?
You Don't Need to Like Everyone
Being kind does not mean you have to like a person. It does not mean you are going to be friends forever. Or even at all. You can show kindness to someone, and still not like them. You may not agree with anything about them, you may not like their level of integrity, you may not approve of their morals and ethics, however, you still treat them with kindness because, well, they really haven’t done anything to harm/hurt/violate you. You simply don’t have the right chemistry with them.
I’ve heard of so many instances where one child does or says something ‘bad’ to another child and instead of finding out what caused the confrontation in the first place, the adult present tells the child to just ‘be nice.’ Being ‘nice’ is how that adult resolves it. This is totally disempowering to a child.
And What About You
If you find yourself always saying ‘yes’ to everyone around you, check in. What are your reasons? Are they truly valid for you? Is it that you can’t stand confrontation? (Nobody likes it, really.) Or are they reasons that ‘give away,’ so you can feel good that they are happy because you complied. In your mind this means that they will now like you. In their mind, many will be happy because they are getting what they want. They are using you. And you let them.
Kindness and compassion are truly separate and distinct from being a ‘nice guy.’ Ellen doesn’t say (at the end of her shows) “be nice to one another.” She clearly always states “be kind to one another.” There is a huge difference.
Shifting niceness into kindness is huge change. If you’d like to do some work around this, contact me through the website.
Clara E Minor
MINORSAN Self-Defense & Fitness