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Be Kind, Not Nice

I stopped being nice several years ago. It left me drained and constantly lacking in relationships so I decided to stop being nice.

For me being nice felt like a one-way street. I did what I thought would make other people happy. Sometimes I was right and my “niceness” would make them happy. And many times I was wrong. They were not happy or satisfied and I was resentful because I made unacknowledged sacrifices. Tired of being angry and resentful I decided to stop being nice and start being kind.

For me, the critical difference between niceness and kindness is how it makes me feel. “Don’t say that, be nice.” “You’ll hurt their feelings, be nice.” Being nice is so often paired with being restricted and silenced. Don’t do or say something because of how the other person may feel or react. Being nice was about making other people happy at the expense of myself.

Kindness is an active and conscious way of being in the world. Kindness demands that I pay attention to my own needs and wants. Kindness requires that I balance my needs with the needs of others rather than only focusing on the needs of others. There are many times when something needs to be said or done even though the feelings of another will be hurt. This doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t say or do what needs to be done. But it does mean that I need to do or say it with kindness.

Being kind allows me to use rather than silence my voice. It allows me to say no to people and situations that aren’t right for me. It requires me to be active and not passive in my life. Being kind also forces me to be more respectful of my relationships as I am more honest in them. I can kindly say what I need and want rather than ignoring my needs or anyone else’s.

How do you navigate kindness vs. niceness in your life? Share your thoughts in the comments section!


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