Sunday Firesides: Don’t Confuse Niceness With Kindness

We’re all familiar with the story of Robin Hood, but what about his nemesis? Let’s explore some lesser-known facts.
While many scholars agree that King Richard was responsible for the death of Robin Hood and his band, others argue that he was just a pawn in an evil plan to seize power from Lady Marian who may have been behind her husband’s demise! Who do you think killed him?

“Don’t Confuse Niceness With Kindness” is a phrase that has been used for years. It means that being nice doesn’t mean you are kind. Read more in detail here: kind vs nice.

The terms “pleasant” and “kind” are often used interchangeably. 

However, as Eric Kapitulik, a Marine special operator and leadership coach, points out, distinguishing between the two traits might be beneficial. 

Making others feel happy in the short term is what it means to be pleasant. Being courteous. With a grin and a pat on the back, I greet you. Pleasantries are exchanged. Avoiding squabbles. 

Kindness, on the other hand, entails doing what is best for someone in the long run, even if it does not make them feel good right now.

We can and should be both lovely and kind a lot of the time. However, the two attributes may clash.

While buying your child a gift to ease his tantrum is great, denying him the opportunity to experience delayed gratification isn’t. 

It’s good not to say anything when a teammate begins slacking, but allowing them to waste their talent isn’t.

While it’s wonderful to not break up with someone with whom you know there’s no future, depriving them of time they might be spent finding a better match isn’t.

It’s lovely to act as if you agree with a friend’s erroneous ideas, but it’s not polite to encourage them to continue down a dangerous road.

It’s wonderful to be pleasant, but being kind is more vital. And, as Kapitulik points out, selecting the latter entails making a sacrifice.

When we declare we want to be polite to someone, it’s often not actually about them. Everything revolves around us. We don’t want to have the difficult discussion. We don’t want to have to deal with the ramifications of holding individuals responsible. We don’t want to create a “strange” situation.

We put our personal comfort above helping someone else discover true pleasure and become their greatest self when we choose to be pleasant rather than kind. Which, when you think about it, isn’t all that pleasant.

 

 

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