Today’s Inspiration: The Importance of Being Nice

I think I have a problem. I am told often I am nice.

I know, most of you will tell me that’s not a problem. It’s a good issue to have. It’s good to be nice. But other people that can relate to being in this category might agree with me–being nice is just, well…nice. It’s rather boring-sounding…friendly, dependable, kind, helpful, easy-going. It sounds like I’m describing a dog.  Nice doesn’t sound very exciting at all.

I have friends who speak their mind all the time–no filter at all. Sometimes I wish I could be more outspoken like them. They say what they want when they want to. They don’t care about whose feelings get hurt (or they don’t seem to). They always speak out and do everything their way. If they are happy, it’s all good.  Some people I know won’t help others or rarely do. “I’m not helping/donating to school because I don’t like my child’s teacher,” is a response I’ve heard. When I’m asked to help out, I say yes more often than I want to, and sometimes I wish I could feel less guilty when I say no. I wonder how freeing that might feel to say and do whatever I choose to do.

But is that being free, or are they just mean and narcissistic? Is the person who doesn’t help, often aggressively speaks her mind, or speaks out about everything someone to be admired for who she is?

Of course I’ve had lots of moments where I could have spoken out in a situation, gotten defensive, said a hundred mean and hurtful things to others, but I bite my tongue. Sure, I will confront and be assertive when I really need to, but I’m not trying to do it defensively or aggressively. Sometimes, though, it’s easier to walk away rather than speak mean words back to an already mean person. And I will refuse to help out or I will vote down an idea when I have valid reasons to. Everyone has limits. But there’s no need to be mean about it.

There have been dozens of times I’ve been asked to help or I’ve been in a situation with a mean person that I’d love to throw angry words at (unfortunately “meanies” exist well after high school–I guess I was naive to think that people outgrew it). My husband, the voice of reason, will remind me, “Julie, do the right thing.” And I do–I always choose to do the right thing. I kill them with kindness. I choose nice words to use in response.  I say yes, and help out, hoping that one day the favor would be returned if I need help of my own.

Yes, I think it is important to be nice. Sure, it sounds rather boring. “Do you know Julie? Yes, she’s really nice.” Blah. Nice, nice, nice. But in the end, I’d much rather be known as a nice girl than hear these words said about me….”Do you know Julie? Did you hear what she said to so-and-so?  I can’t believe she was so mean!” Being known as nice means friends and family and the community can depend on you. Nice means you choose kindness over all else. Nice means you care enough to be concerned about other’s feelings. Nice means you think before you respond, and you try to choose to do what’s right for others (and for you).

You make choices every day, and you choose how you will respond to everything around you. Choose wisely.