When Kindness is Too Much to Give, Be Nice
By Tamra Wade
(Rated PG for mild language)
Why do smaller actions like being nice get such a bad wrap?
Some parts of society push the belief if you are nice it implies you are a pushover or can easily be taken advantage of. While other parts of society feel if you aren’t nice it an indication you are mean.
While a person who is nice might also be a pushover, the two are not always connected. Additionally, if someone isn’t nice, they may have intended on being mean, but again, not always the case.
Being nice may or may not be required when being kind. As with many actions, feelings and intentions get mangled together and pushed apart. Most are non exclusive, meaning they don’t have to be connected.
You can be kind even if your intention wasn’t to be nice. However, being nice is a small component of kindness. Being nice isn’t grand in it’s actions. It’s not profoundly given. It is simple. It can be given easily. Think about it.
When kindness is too much to give, the very least we can do is be nice.
Hold open a door for another person, or allow someone over in traffic. Allow a person with one item in from of you when your cart is full when in line at the grocery store. Get yourself to bed at an earlier time so that my next morning is a better experience. Don’t over eat at one meal in your day.
Sometimes big sweeping gestures or actions are too much to engage in, even as they pertain to how we treat ourselves.
In an age where we are ‘born again’ into a media cesspool where it appears everyone is going hard, doing well and filled with big emotions all the time it is easy to see why more and more people feel depressed and like they don’t measure up.
People, like me, who have life long histories with depression and anxiety can attest the small act of getting out of bed in the morning, at times, is more than we can burden. So to maneuver in the world with high expectations of acting with grad sweeping actions is WAY too much to consider. It’s so much that many times I have opted out of interacting.
I now deconstruct the action.
If an action like kindness is too much, break it down to its smallest components. Pick a smaller component and try it out. In this case, I have selected being nice.
Being nice to yourself becomes easier the more you practice it.
Doing nice things for yourself, like choosing a healthy meal over a bad one is a step in the right direction, especially on more difficult days. Making choices that fit the concept of being nice help provide direction on days that have an excess amounts of confusion, pain, self doubt, sadness, or anxiety.
Here is a small challenge for all of us.
Next time you are feeling shitty, overwhelmed and unwilling to act with kindness (or any other larger action) select a smaller component of the action and act from there.
If love is too much try like. If like is too much move to curiosity.
The point is to keep moving the expectation until you find comfort.
Here is a seemingly unexpected byproduct. In the last few weeks, I have witnessed a rippling effect. One act of being nice affects the recipient. The recipient now has more energy to also try being nice in his or her next interaction and so on. I know that is a bit wind-chimy, but think the concept has merit.
It’s not a one to one, but it does have seen and unseen ramifications.
When kindness is too much try being nice. What are you witnessing as you experience this small change?