I know what you’re thinking.
“I’m already nice!”
“I do a lot for others, often at the expense of myself.”
I get it. I think I’m a nice person too. However, deep down when I look at myself I know that I could be nicer. In fact, at times I am a complete a-hole and so are you. So, for 2022 our resolution needs to be JUST BE NICER.
When I make that statement I make it for both buckets of nice. That’s right, nice has two buckets. Which bucket do you need to work on in 2022?
Bucket One: Being nicer to others
Bucket Two: Being nicer to yourself
Being Nicer to Others
The struggle is real. Most of us who went into veterinary medicine can assuredly say that we believe animals are nicer than people. We resonate easier with animals. Connecting with people can be difficult. It’s not to say that we don’t have the ability to be nice to people but, veterinary medicine is a cynical profession. I just recently spoke about this in my podcast which you can check out here: https://vetteamtraining.podbean.com/e/is-veterinary-medicine-full-of-cynics/
In any given day most of us have cynical, negative or even angry thought towards at least one other human being somewhere on the planet. It could be directed to the pet owner in your hospital. Perhaps your resentment is targeted at a coworker. It could be someone in your family that has ticked you off. Regardless, most days I can safely say that I have some type of negative, unkind thought in my head about another person.
Most of the time the thoughts are fleeting. There is a slight annoyance that someone cut me off while driving and in my head I mutter the words, “f*&! off” as they continue by me. Hardly a big deal, but in that moment I was definitely not being nice.
Other times I am downright rude. I clearly see someone struggling with kids and a full shopping cart making their way to the checkout aisle. One kid is hanging onto the cart. The other is pouting next to mom. My thought usually is, “Hurry up and beat her to the checkout aisle. I don’t want to be stuck behind that chaos.” I rush past her and cut in front through the small gap she left between the aisle and myself.
While these seem like benign thoughts or actions, the reality is they are not nice and they are sucking energy away from you. Recognizing the unkind things you do or say is the first step to being nicer. My mantra now when I catch myself is to think, "just be nicer Amy."
Being Nicer to Yourself
If a survey was done, I gather it would show that people are nicer to others than they are to themselves. I gather this is true for yourself as well. You say yes to coming in for that extra shift, staying late, pet sitting for a friend, helping a parent or even helping a stranger. You do a lot for others! What about for you?
When it comes to yourself, you are downright cruel and mean. I come home after work and plop down on my couch. Crack open a beer, okay maybe two, okay maybe really three. I eat bad food. I zone out on mindless TV while doom scrolling on my phone. I see people looking prettier, living better lives. I become depressed. I then think about an upcoming presentation and how I haven’t started it. I then become anxious. I go to sleep too late at night. I wake up a lot until finally I drag myself out of bed feeling downright crappy. Then I repeat it all over. Me being nice to myself is hard.
Being nicer to yourself is important! It’s not selfish. In fact, it’s the very thing you need to do to put fuel in your tank so you have the energy to let the mom with the kids and the full shopping cart go ahead of you instead of cutting them off. When we fail to take care of ourselves, doing things for others becomes a burden, hassle and downright difficult. We stop being nicer to others when we fail being nice to ourselves.
Being nicer to you means being nicer to your mind AND your body. Those two things make up who you are. If we only provide for one, but not the other we still are missing out. Being nicer to yourself means being able to laugh, enjoy life, eat healthy, sleep well and all of those other important things.
Being Nicer in 2022
Pick which bucket you want to work on for 2022. Perhaps it’s the nice bucket for others or perhaps you’ve picked the bucket pertaining to yourself. In my case I’m going to hold onto both buckets and try to work on of each throughout the year.
Here are some ideas of how to be nicer:
Start each morning with positivity:
Have positive affirmations. Recognize those negative thoughts and focus on something else.
Realize someone else’s struggle:
When we see and empathize what someone else is going through, it helps us to be kinder and nicer to others.
Pay it forward:
I’ve done this one from time to time, but in 2022 I plan on ramping this one up! I love paying it forward! It’s great fun! I once paid $23 for groceries because the woman in front of me did not have enough money to pay her grocery bill. She started to take things off the bill and I realized what she was removing was hardly excessive. I had it, she did not. It’s that simple. It put energy in my tank for days!
Random act of kindness:
This one is free and easy. Just spread kindness, praise and small gestures! Put a smiley face on someone’s locker. Tell a doctor at your hospital, “I don’t say it enough, but you’re awesome at your job.” I promise you, you will feel great and you’ll want to do it more.
Assume good intention:
I’ve written and podcasted about this topic. If you can assume the best of everyone, you’ll live life with less cynicism and be a lot nicer. Check out my blog on this topic: https://www.vetteamtraining.com/post/assume-good-intention OR you can check out my podcast on it: https://vetteamtraining.podbean.com/e/assume-good-intention-1600802912/
Remember the important things:
If I forget my sister’s birthday I feel terrible. She also gets angry about it. Remembering birthdays, events, or meaningful moments are important to others and to us. If you make a commitment not to forget anyone’s birthday in 2022, you have committed to being nicer.
Send handwritten letters:
It’s a lost art form. Writing a meaningful letter or a short note of kindness and mailing it is an amazing way to be nice. It also gives back to you when you receive a thank you!
Pick up trash:
Gross, I get it, but giving back to the environment is about being nice to our original mother, nature. In return, you are helping the planet which means you’re also being nicer to people.
Give compliments freely:
I once told a random stranger she had amazing hair because it was really awesome. She looked surprised and told me she hated her hair. I said, “Girl, your hair is amazing. Trust me” and I walked away. She was smiling. It’s silly, but if we could all say nice things to each other the planet would be a nicer place to live on.
Be nicer on social media:
The struggle is real, but it’s important. If everyone was kind and nice on social media we wouldn’t have bullying, hate or evil in much of our lives. Before you post, stop and think, “Am I being nice” and if the answer is “no” then don't post it! In the end, do you really think you telling someone off is going to change their life or make them see your perspective? No. So just be nicer. Supporting on social media goes a lot further than degrading. As Elsa says the movie Frozen, "Let it go."
Do something special each day for yourself:
It may be something small, but whatever it is spoil yourself just a tiny bit each day. Today I’m going to buy a latte when I go home from work. I deserve it! Today I’m going to take a walk outside for 20 minutes because I want to enjoy the sun. I deserve it! Today I’m looking forward to reading 10 pages of the book I’ve been meaning to get to. I deserve it! Do something each day for you.
Be nicer to your body:
We all have our naughty behaviors. Commit to being nicer to yourself by trying to stop smoking, eating healthier or exercising more. Start small and be kind to yourself throughout the process.
2022: The Nice Movement
Imagine if in 2022 every person took up the resolution to BE NICER. If each day every person committed to doing one thing for themselves or others that was truly nice, wouldn’t that be amazing? I think 2022 is going to test us, much like 2020 and 2021. We are going to need all the nice we can get. In 2022 let’s spread the love, kindness and all the nice behavior to others and ourselves. Let's commit to being nicer.