This Festive Season, Are You Being Kind Or Just Nice Or Both?

An act of kindness may not always appear to be nice, as much as a 'nice' act may not be actually kind. What matters is how you can do both.

You walk into a room, and someone compliments you on your dressing sense. It boosts your confidence. The picture from your vacation that you posted on Instagram fetches you some thousand plus likes along with tons of positive comments that leave you totally ecstatic! You are bowled over by the adjectives that describe you.

It is not unnatural to marvel at the kindness showered upon you! Hold on for a second: by any chance, are you confused between niceness and kindness? As much as it may sound cynical, it is wiser to not take every word literally.

Someone being a nice person does not ALWAYS mean that he or she is kind!

Although we make the mistake of using the concepts interchangeably, being nice and practicing kindness are not always the same. We are taught to be nice and kind, but hardly do we reflect in depth on those two separate meanings.

Niceness is always associated with being pleasant, courteous, or agreeable. To sum it up, you do not want to offend the person or persons you are interacting with.

Kindness, on the other hand, is rooted in benevolence, and the act is performed with utmost sincerity and authenticity, expecting nothing in return. To cite an example, if you are voluntarily helping an aged person to carry bags of groceries home, you are being kind and nice at the same time.

Author Houston Kraft delves into the concept of kindness and beautifully articulates the differences between being nice and being kind. According to him, “kindness moves beyond feelings and conveniences”.

Elaborating on niceness, he writes, “The nice person often expects something in return for their actions. They seek gratitude from the recipient even if the person wasn’t expecting — or doesn’t want — what is being given.”

Kindness and niceness are not always mutually inclusive

An act of kindness may not always appear to be nice. Imagine that you are in a gathering where someone who is not present is being discussed rather nastily. If you muster the courage to call out the people who are gossiping, you will inevitably end up being disliked. You have stood by your principles and have been kind towards the person who’s being attacked, but you do not look too nice here for speaking out your mind.

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Well, welcome to reality, and do not expect the best of both worlds: to be honest and to be a people pleaser at the same time.

Niceness and kindness may coexist

You will come across people who have always given a patient listening to your problems and offered their soothing words of comfort. They may have also come rushing in to help you out in times of need and difficulty. These are the ones who are not just nice and make you happy with their sweet words; they are kind as well.

The science behind kindness!

It is heartwarming and encouraging to know how kindness fosters emotional and physical health.

  • It gives immense satisfaction when we perform an act of kindness. This is because the brain releases the feel-good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. They boost our happiness, making us eager to turn kindness into our lifestyle.
  • The brain also releases the hormone oxytocin which is instrumental in facilitating social interactions with people around us.
  • According to research, kindness can be cardioprotective. It can decrease blood pressure and cortisol, the hormone that aggravates stress levels.

Let kindness be a mantra of life!

Christmas is right around the corner, and the festive spirit fills the air. It is the far end of the year, and we are on the threshold, looking forward to new beginnings and brighter days ahead.

How do you intend to celebrate New Year’s Day? This is a question we ask one another.

We seek to usher in 2024 on a joyous note and enjoy it to the fullest. As we make our plans to ring in the new year, we need to look beyond the fun and festivity. When we ponder about the coming days, it is up to us to set a goal to continuously practice the values that touch the lives of those around us. Let us think about cultivating empathy and harnessing the power of kindness with a goal of building true and lasting human relationships on the edifices of selfless, unconditional love.

Here’s to wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy, peaceful New Year!

Image source: by PeopleImages from Getty Images Signature Free for Canva Pro

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About the Author

Rashmi Bora Das

Rashmi Bora Das is a freelance writer settled in the suburbs of Atlanta. She has a master’s degree in English from India, and a second master’s in Public Administration from the University of read more...

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