Serving Granbury and Greater Texas

Willow Mark Therapy PLLC

Willow Mark Therapy PLLC

Serving Granbury and Greater Texas


To Be Nice Or Not To Be Nice, That Is The Question?

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December 26th. The day after Christmas…Oh good! I can now go back to my regular old grinchy self. I can stop “slapping a smile on my face and wishing everyone Happy Holidays”. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays and all, but if I’m honest with myself, I get weary of feeling like I have to be “nice”? So, what’s wrong with being “nice”?

We’re taught as children to be nice: “give grandma a hug”, “be polite”, “smile”, “say hello”, or “goodbye”. If a friend comes to visit, it’s “nice” to ask them to stay with you, even if it isn’t convenient. Being nice is a colleague saying, “How are you today?” as they pass you in the hall. They didn’t look at you, nor did they stop to hear your response. They were just being nice. What if they were kind instead? Isn’t being nice like being kind?

The act of being kind is different.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of English, kindness is defined as ‘the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate’. The ‘and’ suggests that all three of these conditions are required for kindness to be present. So, states Andy Thornton, a cognitive behaviorist hypnotherapist, “one can be friendly and yet not kind, or both generous and considerate but not kind. Perhaps it’s when we become aware of all three conditions being present that we feel for ourselves the pleasure of real kindness”.

Thornton goes on to say, ‘When we practice kindness either to other people or towards ourselves, we can experience positive mental and physical changes through lowering stress levels and increasing the body’s production of feel-good hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin’. So, a person who practices being kind, is helping to boost their immune system, reducing their blood pressure and helps to reduce stress and anxiety.

The great thing is that it isn’t difficult to be kind. As the Dalai Lama said, ‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible’.

Another positive comparison into kindness vs niceness is given by Leah Nusgart, community manager, for the web site See Kindness, suggests: “Sometimes being kind means being honest. And niceness and honesty don’t mix very well”. Niceness means saying “yes” to appease. So sometimes kindness is not nice at all.

Have you ever said yes to something you immediately regretted? Then sat with that queasy feeling for days afterwards, wondering why you didn’t just say no. ‘‘It’s hard to say no! Luckily, saying no is a challenge that gets easier,” states Nusgart, “Kindness means having the option to say ‘no,’ respecting your boundaries and thinking about what is best for everyone – including you.”

Kindness is about respect. Respect is important both for other boundaries, as well as respecting my own boundaries. I feel I am actually nicer when I chose kindness over nice. It seems backwards but when you think about it, it actually makes sense.

“Kindness is a conversation, an opportunity to discuss, states Nusgart, and kindness is like offering your seat to someone, but not forcing them to sit”.

Being kind means being honest with yourself and with others and letting others be honest with you. SO, I’m going to stop being nice, and refine my ability to be kind.

Here are resources to help you stop being nice:

– How to Set Boundaries. This guide from Mark Manson explains why boundaries are the key to good relationships.

–  How to say no in a kind way. The Greater Good Magazine has an article that offers 21 ways to “give good no,” how to say no in the right way for any occasion.

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in-person & online - Texas

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We all struggle from time to time and need a little help.  I know with the right support, you can be free from negative self-talk and relationships that don’t seem to go the way you want them to. True freedom can be yours. You can become confident and connected. 

And I believe 
"Your past does not dictate your future." 

Hi, I'm Jennifer

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