Day 239: Just Be Nice

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Which fruit would you be?

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” Saint Basil

Not only do I love this quote, but what a name! Who could go wrong with basil or fruit?  I’ve always enjoyed playing Clue because of the names of the characters.  Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, and Miss Scarlet are all very intriguing.  Names are important, but actions show our true colors.

Since we’re known by our deeds, why don’t we just be nice?  I’m constantly telling my students, “Just be nice!”  Yet, I find it hard to put into practice myself.  I can be nice on purpose, and  that usually lasts for about an hour.

I found Psychology Today to be a little schizophrenic on the topic too.  On the one hand, they talk about being nice and on the other they tell us to “quit being so nice.”  Here’s what I found out.

On being nice – After reading this interesting article, I found that being nice actually causes the brain to change.  The extra serotonin produced by doing something nice or being nice on purpose makes us feel happy.  Also, doing something nice gives us extra endorphins that energize us (according to the article).  In summary, being nice, makes us more likely to be nice again and again.  What if it were a pattern?

Being nice is counterproductive – A few weeks ago, Psychology Today told us to be nice, a change from last January’s article telling us not to be so nice.  For whatever reason, this article might make us feel better about the times when we’re not so nice. Here we find that we often put up with other people’s bad behavior because of niceness.  They also state that being too nice can annoy people as much as being a cheater.  Imagine that?

To be or not to be nice–that’s an interesting dilemma.

I’m sticking with the higher goal, found in Ephesians 4: 31-32.  “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

What’s your opinion about being nice?

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