The Hard Thing About Being Nice
It is not always easy to be nice. It’s nice to be nice, but it isn’t always easy.
Sometimes, the last thing you want to do is smile in the direction of someone who’s annoyed you.
I heard an interesting thing recently though. John Maxwell preached a sermon at church about possessions. I would translate what he said to being nice or showing kindness also. He said,
Perspectives people have of possessions:
1. What’s yours is mine and I’m going to take it
2. What’s mine is mine and I’m going to keep it
3. What is mine is yours and I’m going to give it
4. What is mine is not mine and I’m going to manage it
I would also carry this over to kindness and being nice by saying:
1. What’s yours is mine and I’m going to be nice to myself
2. What’s mine is mine and I’m going to keep being nice to myself
3. What is mine is yours and I’m going to share my kindness and be nice to others
4. What is mine is not mine and I’m going to help you be kind by constantly, consistently, and continuously showing kindness and being nice to everyone.
It’s sometimes hard for me to categorize certain things under only being nice. That’s because certain things could be also being considerate, thoughtful, or kind or even well-intentioned. But, it is not always for the sake of us. I am in the middle of a book called Destiny by T.D. Jakes. He talks about giving ourselves to others.
He writes, “On the journey to Destiny, be aware that you may share your gift and not share you. Make that distinction so people who constantly want something from you will not drain you.”
He then goes on to say, “The gift doesn’t shine if the giver is extinguished.”
In the same way, we cannot be nice to others if we are not also nice to ourselves. We must be nice to ourselves first. We can be nice to someone by buying them a dinner when we go out to eat. But, if we are not first nice to ourselves and do not have the money for that, “the giver will be extinguished,” as T.D. Jakes wrote.
I had an interesting conversation recently also. We talked about the golden rule and one perspective was that it will never be possible for everyone to treating others in the way that they’d like to be treated. I think that sort of mindset is difficult.
A lot of people believe things like that. That just because everyone is not doing it, that when they do it, there will be no impact.
One person can do enormous things. We are so powerful. We never know what will happen when we are nice to someone.
But, we likely do know what will happen if we are not nice to someone. Just think, I’m sure that someone was unkind to you during the course of your day today. What happened?
Did they throw off your schedule?
Did you erupt in anger?
Did you retort and say something mean in response?
Did you sulk around until they apologized?
Obviously, there are often not many positive things that result from someone being not nice or unkind. And, obviously not everyone is nice, and certainly not all the time, and most definitely not always in the way that we would like them to be.
But, that is what makes being nice so difficult. That is the hard thing about being nice.
When we give beyond what we receive, we often feel “extinguished” or worn out or just plain tired.
But, what if we are able to give kindness so so so so frequently that it is (or is nearly) 100% of the time? There is only one way to receive just as much in return, 100% of the time. That is with God. He can give us strength to be kind and nice 100% of the time.
If we reflect on the life that Jesus lived, He was kind-hearted and nice or well-intentioned, throughout His entire life. Obviously, we are not Him, but with God, we can do anything.