Many people believe that being nice and being kind are one in the same. But there is a big difference in the definitions. Nice speaks to having the quality of being pleasant and agreeable. Not a bad way to be described. Kind, on the other hand, speaks to your character and who you are intrinsically as a person. How do you stack up on the kindness meter?
We live in a society where people are hurting. Death, divorce, sexual trauma, physical abuse – you name it, people are experiencing it. Each and every one of these events can change the dynamics of a person. There are moments where the people you work with everyday find it nearly impossible to get out of the bed in the morning to make it to the office. But they need to get up so they can feed their family. Is this the person who comes to the office cranky, doesn’t want to speak to anyone or is simply known as the person to avoid because of their unpleasant disposition? It can be easy to put people in a box of being mean or difficult to deal with, but you never really know what people are going through. Here’s the challenge: be a person that offers to bring solution to pain and not judgment.
When you see someone who can turn the mood in the office into one of mayhem, can you offer a smile? Would it be too hard to ask how their weekend was and if they might need help with one of their projects at work if you have completed your assignments? Are you willing to see them in a weak or rough moment and quietly offer an ear to listen if they need one? This is not to suggest that you become a therapist or to be abused when someone simply cannot manage to treat you well. But examine yourself. Are you meeting in the break room to talk about how awful the coworker is or the one who will not engage in the fray and look for an opportunity to be supportive? The latter speaks to your character, the person that you really are when nobody is watching you “behave well.”
Make a commitment to yourself to be a kind person. Work towards looking at people through the lens of being just like you on a day that you may need some grace. Challenge yourself to move beyond being nice and being the person whose character says, “There but for the grace of God, I could be the person that nobody wants to offer kindness. I’m going to make the choice to give of myself in this moment as a “pay it forward” for the day that I might need that in return.” In a world where you can be anything, be kind.