It’s Okay to Not Be Nice
It’s taken me most of my life so far to learn this, but:
Being “nice” – or niceness – is not necessarily a virtue.
Making someone uncomfortable is not necessarily synonymous with being unkind (depends on how and why you’re making them uncomfortable).
Just because someone dislikes us, our boundaries, or what we stand for does not mean we should change who we are to be “nice” or to make them comfortable. We should not sacrifice or compromise our souls or our sanity for political correctness or popularity.
It’s okay to disagree with someone.
It’s okay to try to keep your distance – as much as possible – from someone who’s acting inappropriate around you – even if they’re pretending to be gentle/safe and acting like you’re hurting their feelings for staying away. Predators prey upon the goodwill and compassion of others all the time.
This is not to say that everyone in your life who makes you feel guilty for avoiding them is a predator. But if you’re getting a weird vibe from someone, you should not feel obligated to stick around simply to seem “nice”.
Jesus Wasn’t “Nice”…But He Was Kind
Jesus was kind, but he wasn’t polite for the sake of politeness.
He wasn’t nice. He confronted the Pharisees, overturned the money tables in the temple, and rebuked Peter after Peter rebuked him for prophesying his death.
Jesus ate with (*gasp*) the tax collectors and sinners! He ignored the PC rules of the time.
Jesus was kind and compassionate, but he wasn’t concerned with being or appearing “nice”, polite, or politically correct in order to maintain popularity or ensure the comfort of others.
In fact, Jesus made a lot of people uncomfortable. His words of truth pierced many like the blow of a sword.
He taught his disciples to be innocent as doves…but also shrewd as serpents. He told us to turn the other cheek, but also instructed his disciples to flee if persecuted.
Nice vs. Kind
“Nice” is politically correct.
“Kind” is more concerned with saying what’s actually correct.
“Nice” doesn’t have any enemies or any real friends.
“Kind” has many enemies but also a few true friends.
“Nice” protects your ego.
“Kind” protects your soul.
“Nice” is concerned with appearance.
“Kind” is concerned with the inner man and the hidden things.
“Nice” will stop being nice when it becomes politically or socially inconvenient.
“Kind” will never stop being kind. It is concerned with truth, not with trends. It is concerned with love, not likability.
Much of the time, to be “nice” is to be unkind.
Nice people are flimsy. They don’t sharpen themselves, and they don’t sharpen others. Kind people sharpen both themselves and others, because they are in tune with reality rather than fantasy, a selfish desire for popularity, or wishful thinking. They seek only truth and speak only truth.
It’s okay to express your beliefs, even if others might label you “judgmental”, “intolerant”, “closed-minded”, or “irrational”. It’s okay (and important) to pursue truth, even if that makes others uncomfortable.
It’s okay to ignore the fashion trends and dress comfortably – in a style that works for you. It’s okay to defy the pressure of your peers and dress more modestly or cozily than they dress – or suggest or “demand” that you dress.
It’s okay to close your eyes during a sermon, without worrying that the pastor or others might think you’re asleep. If closing your eyes helps you to listen better, do it. Don’t worry about looking “unrighteous” or offending the pastor or someone else. You’re there to meet God, not to feed the pastor’s ego or perform for the congregation.
It’s okay to follow a diet that suits your health requirements, even if others shame you for not trying their food.
It’s okay to cook the same meal for everyone in your family (provided it’s a meal that works for your most allergic/sensitive peeps. Most of the time, I have to prepare something different from what my family eats, and I don’t think most people would want to subsist only on the foods in my limited diet for very long). But you shouldn’t feel obligated to cook multiple meals for others simply to cater to their tastes because they don’t prefer your healthier food, and want to eat shortbread, biscuits, pork, and trans-fat-laden alfredo noodles made with artificial ingredients instead of your lovingly prepared meal of salmon, soup, and salad.
If they want something else (especially something less healthy), they can make it themselves.
It’s okay to not be nice.
It’s okay not to cater to every last whim and wish of others. You’re only one person, and not everything that other people want is actually good for them, even if they do an excellent job of convincing you that you’re a terrible person for “depriving” them.
And trying to please everyone is not good for you, either.
Nice people don’t change the world – at least for the better. Kind people do.
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© 2018 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved