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Being Nice vs. Being Kind

By: Hannah Zhang

How do you define a truly kind person? The first thing to appear on your mind when asked a question like this is likely someone who hurts when they see others suffering. This person would probably want the best for others, because seeing the smiles on others’ faces give them a sense of accomplishment, or in other words, makes them happy. And yes, this person is Ba benign person, set to become very popular among their peers, except if someone is jealous, of course. But how much of this is truly out of goodwill and the pure desire to see others happy? How much is because they are merely trying to satisfy an inferiority complex?

People tend to flock around people who make them feel better around themselves. Such a statement can be concluded without extensive research, as each of us can admit that about ourselves. To say the least, it just makes sense for kind people to be well-liked and adored.

But the thing is, for what reason is there for that kind person to be kind? They don’t receive any benefits right away. What makes them ready for the wait? It is usually because they feel good. When you help someone, don’t you get this warm, fuzzy feeling inside that you did something to make someone else’s day? It doesn’t matter whether you know it or not, but there is almost always an ulterior motive. Most of the time, this ulterior motive is to save yourself the guilt and regret from not helping someone, or it could be that you weren’t feeling the most confident that day and needed to boost your mood by helping someone.

In my opinion, a true kind person is never or almost never swayed by their emotions. They do good things no matter what, even if they don’t want to. I feel like someone who is truly kind doesn’t feel any empathy and yet still is kind. Most of us can’t help but feel a little pity when we see a homeless on the street, and perhaps that is what sways us into donating them a little bit of money. However, I believe that someone who is truly kind feels nothing at the prospect of seeing someone without a home, and yet they still offer a few dollars to the person. When you don’t receive anything after doing something but continue to do it, that is when you know that you truly want to do this thing, and you want to do it because you want to. The same thing goes for being truly kind. I feel that you know that you are a kind person when you offer things to the less fortunate and walk away feeling nothing, as though it was just another part of your day.

Of course, this may as well be inhumane. But it is the difference between being nice and being kind. It’s like the difference between those on the Western side of the United States and those who, say, live in New York City. Somebody in NYC might suddenly start helping you with shoveling your snow after a particularly bad snowstorm and walk away without another word. On the other hand, someone from the West might comment on how hot it is one day and offer some words of consolation, but you might notice that they don’t go further than mere words of consolation to make themselves feel better. The point is, people who are nice do kind gestures to please themselves, while people who are kind do kind gestures because others benefit from them. Nice people feel good after doing something kind, and kind people don’t feel a thing. But remember there’s nothing wrong with being nice---after all, the person receiving the kindness still receives it.

Now, you might wonder why nice people feel the way they do and why kind people feel the way they do. Well, think of it this way. A gymnast sees nothing impressive with being able to do, say, a backflip. But on the other hand, a violinist may see this as one of the most amazing feats.

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