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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

An effort to be nice


We all need to learn the difference between being nice and being kind.

It sounds a bit silly to say at first, perhaps even redundant, but from where I stand, there is a clear distinction.

To be nice is to spare someone’s feelings; to allow people to take advantage of you and to hide parts of the truth. Being nice sits on the surface.

Kindness runs deep.

To be kind is to lead with love. Not just a superficial love, but one that is willing to challenge harm, stand up for every person and be radically with others in consolation and desolation.

Kindness is being with others during the unbelievable good and the unjustifiable struggle.

To be kind is to challenge injustice, to not allow another person to do harm because you love them too much to be nice.

I have often struggled with feeling like I am not “nice” enough. 

As a woman, I have been taught that to be nice is to forgo your own boundaries, to make yourself uncomfortable so that another person does not have to reckon with themselves, to shrink yourself and to agree with everyone. 

I’ve had a lot of trouble with that because I want to be seen as nice, but I struggle to hold myself back, to suffocate my thoughts and feelings as people often desire me to do.

This has led me to many inauthentic friendships. Friendships where I hide my true self. Friendships that feel quite irreconcilably empty. That makes me feel empty. In an effort to be nice, I have often been unkind.

I deserve to be my full self and that omission of self is not doing anyone else any favors. Relationships built on weak foundations will crumble.

I get it, it’s hard. 

Sometimes, you put your full self out there and have a strong foundation, but it isn’t built upon. It takes incredible strength and vulnerability to put your authentic self out there and risk being hurt. But there is also such potential for deep, intentional, unconditional love—to give and to be had.

It is nice to stay with people who don’t serve you and who you are not able to be your full self with. But it is kind to let go to give yourself and them the opportunity for more, to be able to live greater.

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