We have a problem in society. Either people want to be nasty and mean or they want to be nice. Both are creating extreme issues for us.
Most of us understand the problem of the first group. This group of nasty people seems to dominate Social Media and politics. There is so much vitriol and name calling and just outright venom being spewed that the divides and polarization just keep getting worse. In many ways, we are seeing a devolving of society toward more primal ways.
There are volumes being written every week on the degradation of politeness and constructive discourse.
The flip side of that coin is people just wanting to be nice. It sounds great. “Can’t we all just be nice and get along?”
Here’s the thing about just being nice. It’s not always honest. It is from a selfish motive.
Nice is selfish. Nice wants to feel good and be liked and avoid discomfort. Nice will lie to feel better or not hurt the feelings of someone else. Nice is doing what makes me feel good in the moment when it is convenient for me. Nice will ignore the hard truth and avoid the hard conversations. Nice is creating false harmony. Nice puts us in denial.
For many, I am aware that these statements are uncomfortable and don’t feel right. In fact, I may even have less readers than I did at the start.
For those that are still with me, let me throw one more thing out there….
Jesus was NOT nice……
I’ll let that sit for a moment….
Jesus called people names (vipers, whitewashed tombs, stray dogs, etc). He called people out. He even was so violent that He beat people with a whip and broke their equipment they used to make money. And, not just once, but twice!
These things are not nice.
Jesus was just however. He was also kind.
Ok, I just heard the screeches from the brakes as some say “Wait a minute! Aren’t kind and nice the same thing?”
They are not.
Nice is selfish and just wants everything to be comfortable and easy. Kind, however, dives into the truth and even the hard things because it is what is best for the other person.
For example, it is not nice to punish a child for getting into things they are curious about. It is kind however to correct them, sometimes with punishment, to teach them to avoid danger. It doesn’t feel good to correct your child and have them cry or get mad. It is what they need in that moment so you don’t have something much worse to deal with later on.
Kind will even accept unpopularity in order to do what is right and best for others. Kind will risk relationships to save a person. Kind will set aside self to bring life and hope to another even when it means having the hard conversation or making the hard decision.
See the difference?
Nice is selfish. It’s about making me feel comfortable and good even if it may hurt the other person later.
Kind is centered on others. It wants what is best for them whether or not there is a cost to self.
Kind takes courage. Kind is honest. Kind is strong.
In leadership this is massive. Too many people want to be liked over what is best. Too many people choose nice over kind.
So let’s stop being nasty. Stop being nice. If enough people will do this, the change will be seismic.
Stop being nice. Start being kind.