Be Kind not Nice

Niceness is a personality trait.  Kindness is a feature of one’s character.

Niceness is a self-serving, self-protecting bunker in which cowards hide — hoping that by not offending anyone they will be liked.

Kindness, on the other hand, is others-centered.  A kind person will challenge unjust practices.  A kind person knows that what they stand up for may subject themselves to ridicule and hatred.  The kind person speaks and acts against injustice simply because it is the right thing to do. The kind person does so at great personal expense.  The kind person does so anyway.

A nice person would never do such things, because a nice person is all about themselves.  A nice person is not about others, as they usually claim to be.  A nice person agrees with others because they have no backbone.  A nice person doesn’t want to offend – even when someone is behaving offensively.  A nice person complies to avoid confrontation – even when someone or something needs to be confronted.

The nice person is a coward who hides who they really are, hoping to be loved.  Unfortunately, the nice person lives in self-delusion by this hope.  How can one ever be loved, if one never shows the world who they really are?  How can one even love or respect themselves . . . if they never stand up for what they believe?  So while another fake person may grow to ‘love’ the nice person’s illusory facade; no one can ever truly love the nice person because nice people only ever reveal their fake, nice, exterior to others.

The kind person, on the other hand, strolls through the world unafraid of exterior consequences.  The kind person knows they will be hated by some people they encounter because they speak their truth and stand against the forces of deception and tyranny.  But in doing so, the kind person will always be beloved by those who would see this planet become a better place: a world filled with peace, joy, truth, love, justice and understanding.

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Johnny Weir Awesomeness

The Awesomeness of Johnny Weir

“Love myself I do. Not everything, but I love the good as well as the bad. I love my crazy lifestyle, and I love my hard discipline. I love my freedom of speech and the way my eyes get dark when I’m tired. I love that I have learned to trust people with my heart, even if it will get broken. I am proud of everything that I am and will become.” – Johnny Weir

Wow.

I have to admit that I am not a figure skating fan and had no idea who Johnny Weir was.  But when I ran across this quote, I couldn’t help but marveling at the power of these words.  I wonder how much our lives would change if we embraced and incorporated these thoughts into our lives.

First, Johnny states he loves himself, something we must learn to do before we can truly give love to others.  We cannot give something away that we do not possess.  He cleverly states he doesn’t ‘love’ everything about himself, but I ‘love the good as well as the bad.’  I think this jeu de mots means that while each part of him may not be perfect, he accepts even those parts that are frustrating to him.  This is difficult for many of us.  Sure, we should try to improve the parts of ourselves that we do not like.  But accepting the ‘bad’ parts of our character, body, mind and habits is a critical skill, as well, if we truly wish to fully love ourselves.

Next, the figure skater says he loves his lifestyle, discipline, speech and tired eyes.  Interestingly, he picks four items that someone could easily see as negatives:  a “crazy” lifestyle, having to constantly be disciplined, freedom of speech (which frequently lands us in trouble – or at least criticized) and dark, tired eyes.   I have never heard anybody else — ever — say they love their own dark, tired eyes.  But Johnny has found four things that are certainly taxing on occasion, at minimum, and has accepted them, embraced them, and loves them.

Mr. Weir says he has learned to trust people even though he knows the heart-rending consequence that will occasionally come from doing so.  This is an area where most of us struggle.  Why give all of ourselves when it will sometimes lead to heartbreak?  Because our love and greatest joy is found in doing so.  The only thing worse than to have love and lost . . . is to never have loved.

Finally, Johnny tells us he is proud of who is he right this minute and will always be proud of who he is.  Even if we disregard all the other beautiful sentiments in his quote and fully embraced this final sentence, our lives would change immeasurably.  We would be full of love and joy.  That is the truth.

Thank you, Johnny Weir.  I am still not a skating fan.  But I am unequivocally a fan of the way you live life.

Don't Follow Crowd Be Awesome

Don’t Follow the Crowd. Be Awesome!

Be very careful when you blindly follow the masses, the ‘M’ is often silent.

Being different is sometimes hard, but it is well worth it.  Everyone who has ever achieved greatly has dared to be different.  Just a few examples of people who refused to follow the crowd and revolutionized their field of endeavor — if not the entire world:  Mahatma Gandhi, Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy, Mother Teresa, Vincent van Gogh, Ervin “Magic” Johnson, Joan of Arc, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Christopher Columbus, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr.; Benjamin Franklin, Paul of Tarsus, Marie Curie, Sigmund Freud, Gautama Buddha, William Shakespeare, Florence Nightingale and Jesus of Nazareth.

Consider how different our world would be today if any one of these people had decided to simply follow the crowd and uphold the status quo.

You are the only person ever created with exactly your combination of personality, talents, insight, interests and experiences.  You are uniquely qualified to contribute something awesome to this world, whether on the world stage . . . or ‘simply’ in your own home, neighborhood, school, house of worship or local community.

But you will only make that contribution if you refuse to follow the crowd.  We often wait for ‘a sign’ or ‘the perfect time,’ but that may never come.  Instead, we need only recognize we were born to be awesome.  But we will never find that inner awesomeness if we follow the crowd and try to be like everybody else.

Dare to be different and live life like the people listed above.  Live life on your own terms.  Live life in pursuit of what you love and doing what makes you happy.  You owe it to yourself to make each minute count, and you owe it to all of us to bless us with your inner awesomeness — whatever that may be.

“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.”  ― Albert Einstein