Don’t Be Nice, Be Kind

I’m not much for resolutions, but this is a piece that used to hang in my old home office (and now still hangs virtually in my Evernote box) that never seems to lose its impact. I don’t remember who initially introduced me to it, but it never stops resonating with me. It seems like a good time to share it with all of you.

Don’t Be Nice, Be Kind is a commentary that appeared in Yes magazine in 2008. I love the author’s message–niceness is false, it’s a cover and it’s meant to put people at ease, but not get to the underlying truth of the matter. Kindness on the other hand, “allows us to say the hardest of things while preserving the dignity of those around us. It allows us to take the big risk of letting people know what is on our minds in a way that is unclouded and respectful. It is an action of the heart.”

2012 is a big year for me, filled with new challenges and lofty goals. As I take on a new leadership role and as I start laying the foundation for a project that’s been percolating for some time now, I realize how critical it is to be able to communicate ethically–directly, while still preserving the dignity of those around us. So that’s what I’ll be working on this year. Not because it’s a resolution, but because it’s simply a good idea.

I invite you to put nice aside as well, and opt for kindess, instead. To choose words that have purpose, but are couched in respect. To hold back biting comments of complaint and criticism, and rephrase so that you are offering up your concerns with an accompanying solution or alternative. I love discourse and debate, and the beauty of the work we do is that there is room for multiple ideas and opinions. But discourse and debate can happen in a way that moves us forward instead of stopping us in our tracks, or worse, derailing us altogether.

Here’s to a kind 2012…

4 replies on “Don’t Be Nice, Be Kind”

Not only does it take courage, but it takes practice to speak from a place of kindness when there are hard things to say. I also remember to lean on my natural inclination to be curious, especially in complex or tough situations. Curiosity helps me to not jump to conclusions or make false assumptions. No situation is ever quite as it seems at first glance.

What a thoughtful message to begin this new year with. We are all looking to deepen meaningful relationships… with our peers, colleagues and community partners… to nurture and sustain our clinical teams… to further the policy work that is being done. Sincere ethical communication will lay a strong foundation of respect and dignity for all.

2012 holds great potential…

What a great reading. The message really resonates with my goal as a nurse to see and respect the sacredness and humanity in people that I intereract with be they patients, families, peers, good, or bad.

Comments are closed.