Is “Nice” How You Define A Good Person?

Daffodils are nice, but they are also poisonous.

I Used to Confuse "Nice" and "Good"

I grew up holding “nice” as one of my high ideals. I have always strived to be nice. And have tended to respect people who are nice. And to not respect people who are not nice.

It was the golden standard for me to judge a person: is he or she nice or not? Heck, even Santa Claus uses that standard! It just made sense to me.

But It Didn't Stand the Truth Test

As much as I’d like to believe that being nice is the most important thing in the world, it just isn’t true for me anymore.

Some of the most genuinely good people I know are not “nice.” They are honest, and helpful, and serving bigger things than just my ego. They don’t care if I don’t like them because they’re focused on what’s true for them.

They’re focused on other ideals as valid as being nice. Goodness comes in all kinds of gruff exteriors. And when I set my “nice” standard aside, I can see that hidden goodness.

I Invite You to Question "Nice"

If you find yourself resisting someone because they are not being nice in the way you think they should be, try questioning, “I want him/her to be nice,” or write a whole Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on them. And see what you find.

I’ve discovered many other equally valuable traits in others besides being nice. But I had to look deep to find those hidden values because the ideal of “be nice” was blocking my view.

I’ve also found that being nice generally does still work for me. It’s my way. I like being nice. But it’s not an absolute. No need to demand it from others or myself.

“Politeness and tact are supposed to be about consideration for others. But notice how often they are really about trying to control the impression you make.” — Byron Katie, I Need Your Love, Is That True, p 40.