I'm not nice

I’m Not Nice, Nor Do I Want to Be

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I’m not nice.

It’s difficult for a temperament like mine to be “nice.” Some of that is due to pride, and some of that is not believing that being nice is virtuous at all. Some people think being nice is the same as being kind, but it is not.  

Nice vs. Kind

Kindness is an expression of the theological virtue of charity, according to St. Thomas Aquinas.  In the American Heritage dictionary, nice is defined as, “pleasing or agreeable in nature.”  Kindness is defined as, “The state or quality of being kind; good will; benevolence; beneficence of action or manner.”  Kindness requires action and the will to do good.

What the Saints Had to Say About Kindness

Saint John Chrysostom said, “Would you become a saint? Be severe with yourself but kind with others.”  

Saint Francis de Sales said, “Let us practice many acts of kindness and gentle charity toward those we like the least.”

Obstacles to being Kind – Envy

We must frequent the sacrament of Confession and examine ourselves to see if we have a love for justice, or if we are experiencing deep-seated envy that we hide behind a mask of holiness.  

As an opera singer who once controlled a room, letting go of such vanity, adulation, attention-seeking behavior, and feeding the ego (selfishness), to become a mother of 6 was quite the transition.  It is a transition that I probably will not perfect until after my death.

It is always easy to envy other people, and to think they have something you don’t.  For example, I have never been a woman that men have seen as nice.  

Maybe they were right.  I’m not nice.

Growing up, I was often very shy and serious.  I would see other girls so soft, so sweet, adored by guys, and it just killed me!   I thought I would never find a man to love me, because I just couldn’t bring myself to pretend to be nice or believe a pick-up line from a man (as being nice never did come naturally for me).  

Later, I realized that if I had a softer temperament, I likely would not have survived my childhood.  And so, there is nothing to envy!

An Introduction to the Devout Life

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Shame, Fear of Loss, and Feelings of Inadequacy

For a woman, the sting of shame, inadequacy, and the fear of humiliation and grave loss are things that threaten us every day out of nowhere.  

As the man dies to self by breaking his body and giving his life for Christ, for his children, AND for his country, a woman dies in another way; she dies inwardly.

After motherhood and youth, a woman gives her soul up for Christ in her everyday mundane labor – children that don’t mind, dinners that don’t turn out right, having men expect them to socialize with other women that make them uncomfortable, and who they can never trust. 

We ought to be kind to one another, and everyone contributes to the body of Christ!  If women don’t take the time to grieve, let ourselves be hurt (yet not hurt others out of vengeance), and work inwardly, we will become empty shells, and find ourselves lonely and on the verge of despair.  

Every social event we don’t want to go to, but still go to is a chance to listen and be kind to someone else, remembering the times when we needed to talk, and the times we desperately needed kindness.  

The Battle of the Virtues and Vices: Defending the Interior Castle of the Soul

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the battle of the virtues and vices

In the times that men’s expectations become too much (because men and women think differently), it is best to take mental breaks and establish space, which for women means disengaging emotionally and letting go.  This way, we can heal and grow in virtue and not give in to the temptation to sin.

I’m not nice, nor do I want to be.   Instead, I ask God to help me cultivate the virtue of charity through kindness. 

“Kindness is my only guiding star.  In its light, I sail a straight route, I have my motto written on my sail: ‘To live in love.’ “ ~St. Thérèse of Lisieux

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