Being Nice Is Nice And All, But Being Kind Makes A Bigger Impact

Being Nice Is Nice And All, But Being Kind Makes A Bigger Impact

Nice is holding the door open for the elderly woman behind you. Kind is asking if she needs help with her groceries.


There's a difference between being kind and being nice.

One takes empathy and mindfulness, while the other is a behavioral expectation intended to keep up appearances.

Remember that classic episode of "SpongeBob," the one where he meets Sandy for the first time? When he is invited to her house, Patrick prepares him for it by explaining that air actually means "putting on airs," and that if he holds his pinky up, he'll be OK.

That's an exaggerated version of what being nice means to me.

For those of you unfamiliar with who lives in a pineapple under the sea, being nice is defined differently by different people and different cultures. Being nice is being polite. It's the decent way to act in most circles, but being kind is universal.

Pleasing, agreeable, appropriate and well-bred are all terms used to define nice, according to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary. Whereas to be kind is to be compassionate, helpful, warm and understanding.

Kind has substance and meaning.

Kind requires no translation.

Kind takes time, effort and forethought.

Nice is palatable.

Nice is having good manners.

Nice is expected and fleeting.

Nice is holding the door open for the elderly woman behind you. Kind is asking if she needs help with her groceries.

Now, if you've read to this point, you may be wondering what the significance of this distinction is. Well, here goes: I'm not always a nice person. And anyone who knows me isn't shocked by this.

I'm sarcastic and a little judgmental.

I'm a work in progress and the first to admit that about myself. But I remember people's birthdays, and I'm a pretty great gift giver. I volunteer and make sure I return people's messages when I can.

But I don't always greet people when I walk into a room, and Irish goodbyes are sometimes my go-to.

I'm honest to a fault because I know that, in the long run, the truth yields more positive results than a lie does.

I'm not always great at asking how someone's day was, but I probably know how they feel about immigration and how many kids they have.

Wow, OK, that doesn't make me sound too good. But I'm kind, or I try to be.

And maybe all this piece accomplishes is in an attempt to convince myself as I convince others, but I'll take it.

Bottom line: I'd rather be kind than nice any day.

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Dear Mom, Now That I'm Older

A letter to the woman who made me the woman I am today.

Dear Mom,

Now that I'm older, I definitely appreciate you a lot more than I did as a kid. I appreciate the little things, from the random text messages to constantly tagging me on Facebook in your "funny" photos and sending me pins of stuff I like on Pinterest. Now that I'm older, I can look back and realize that everything I am is all because of you. You've made me strong but realize it's okay to cry. You've shown me how a mother gives everything to her children to give them a better life than she had, even when she's left with nothing. And, most importantly you've taught me to never give up and without this, I would not be where I am today.

Mom, now that I'm older, I realize that you're the best friend I'm ever going to have. You cheer me on when I try new things and support me in deciding to be whatever person I want to be. Thank you for never telling me I can't do something and helping me figure out ways to be the best woman I can be. Your love for me is unconditional. They say true, unconditional love can only come from God, but mom, I think you're a pretty close second.

SEE ALSO: An Open Letter To The Cool Mom

Now that I'm older, I don't get to see you as much. But not seeing you as much just makes the times I do get to see you the absolute best, and I look forward to it every time. Now that I'm older, I'm not going to live at home. But, I promise to always come back because I know the door is always open. Your house is always going to be my home, and no other place is going to be the same.

Now that I'm older, I realize how much I miss you taking care of me. I miss you making me dinner, making sure I was doing well in school, and taking me to endless appointments. I miss you waking me up for school and then waking me up again because I didn't listen the first time.

But, Mom, now that I'm older, I can see all that you've done for me. I can look back and see how big of a brat I was but you still loved me (and let me live) anyways. I can understand why you did certain things and frankly, you're one bada** of a woman.

To have you as my mom and my best friend has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. So, Mom, now that I'm older, thank you, for everything.


Your Daughter

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This Is What Being Away From Home Taught Me About My Home

... It's ok to make plans with people besides your mom.


My home, for as long as I can remember, has been my safe haven. No matter how many arguments my family and I got into, I always knew my home to be a place where I could feel safe, at peace, grounded, and most importantly, comfortable.

This is why, when I decided to embark on a journey to Israel, 6,000 miles away felt like I was traveling into space. I felt as if I couldn't move forward without my mom by my side, reminding me everything is going to be okay. The relationship that my mom and I have is a special one, and knowing that I was not in close proximity to her created much-unwanted anxiety for us both. Knowing that while she may have only been a phone call away, that she wouldn't be able to come hold me if I needed her to, was something I really struggled with.

While I was away, I had hoped that my excitement for the trip and the adventures that were to come would keep me grounded and sane. Unfortunately, as the days went on, I became more and more homesick. However, I was able to learn some really important lessons in terms of the importance of my home, and sometimes the need to escape it.

The new friendships I made showed me that sometimes it's okay to make plans with people besides your mom (only partially joking).

The new foods I tried showed me that there are so many different types of foods that my chef of a mother hasn't even heard of.

The new experiences showed me just how important it is to step out of my comfort zone, even if doing so means I have to be 6,000 miles away from the comfort of my mom's arms.

There are hundreds of thousands of things that this trip has taught me, but it especially taught me that life exists away from your home as well. While it is natural to want to stay close to the things that bring you comfort, it is also essential that you allow yourself to grow.

I couldn't be luckier to have had such an incredible experience abroad, but I also couldn't be luckier to have been able to come home to a mom that was waiting with open arms and open ears.

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