Friday, October 24, 2008

Because "nice" matters

"But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness."
Psalm 86:15

A couple weeks ago I visited a friend who recently moved to Santa Barbara. Her husband passed away from cancer about a year ago at a "way too early" age and she just sold her spacious home in the burbs and down-sized to a little cottage. When I entered her living room my eyes caught the image of a frame on her end table. It held a message which simply reads, "Because Nice Matters." "Where did you get this?" I asked. She said, "I made it up."

Wow...something very simple and yet so profound. What a great reminder to read every day! Is being nice or having someone be nice to us something we value? How can we communicate that "nice" matters to us? I was thinking about it in terms of our upcoming election. It seems we are hearing campaign rhetoric and some "not so nice" situations as people express their opinions about who they want to be the next president.

The simple act of choosing to react in a nice manner or choosing to do something that demonstrates kindness and consideration sends a powerful message. That message says something about us and it also delivers something powerful to the other person. Being nice to someone says to that person, "you matter." When we choose to act with kindness it also says something about us and what kind of person we are. Better yet, it can also influence people to change their crabby attitudes. When someone is kind to you, you take note, and are more apt to pass on that graciousness of attitude toward the people you come in contact with. Kindness has the power to deflect anger. It's not always easy to take the time to be nice, especially since we are so rushed or frustrated with life on any given day.

I'm looking for ways to show people they "matter." The more often I do it, the more it will be become a habit.

Photo: Massimiliano Pieraccini/

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