To 18yo Me
2. Kindness matters. Don't miss an opportunity to exhibit it, even if it's inconvenient. Even if you think you'll look like an idiot. Kindness matters.
Kindness is not about being nice. They seem the same, but they are not. There's a line from the Sondheim musical, "Into the Woods," where the Witch is trying to get the rest of the group to do something, and I always think of it when this topic runs through my head.
"You're so nice. You're not good. You're not bad. You're just nice."
It's not a complimentary thing, this nice. Even allowing for it coming out of a witch's mouth, we know that. And we know she's right. Nice makes us polite. Nice means we play by the rules and we say the things we should to the faces of those involved. But being nice does not make us good... or kind. For this, we must dig far deeper than nice ever will.
Nice is easy. Nice maintains appearances. But KIND requires us to give something of ourselves. It asks us to go beyond nice. It asks us to sometimes step out of our comfort zones. It asks us to be the one to give when no one else is doing it. That sounds simple, but it isn't. Ever been in a group where they're all talking down about someone? It's awfully easy to play along, isn't it? Even if we don't agree... it's "nice" to not argue because then there is no conflict. There is no risk. There is no boatrocking.
But Kind says something. Kind speaks up for the one being talked about. Kind leaves the group and goes to speak good words into the ear of the Shunned one... even when doing so makes you the next Shunned one.
Being nice means little. Anyone can be nice. But being kind... Go on and ask the one who's been kind to. Kindness matters so much.
Don't fall into the trap of settling for nice. Have the courage to be Kind.