When I first popped over to my pal Merriam-Webster for a quick recap of the first grade vocab word “nice,” definition number one caught me off guard like Brad and Angelina’s divorce.
Nice: obsolete, wanton, showing fastidious or finicky tastes
I quickly start recapping all the small comments I took as compliments (“Oh, she’s so nice!”) and wonder if I’ve been secretly procuring frenemies for years.
Thankfully, a list of synonyms saved 23 years of personal interactions and returned to me more solid vocab ground…kind, polite, virtuous, respectable. But it seems the compassion I mentally associated with the term doesn’t shine through as clearly as I thought it did.
Guy Raz with NPR Ted Talks agrees. This concept of compassion is a character trait reserved more for Nicholas Sparks novels than in regular work day. We can create a hard uncaring exterior made up of excuses for work, a full schedule, hiding behind a computer screen, or simple, “not my problem.” But compassion is a muscle and one that’s decidedly more important than toning your bum or any other body part on you New Year’s resolution gym list.
“Compassion is making a choice to honor other people’s humanity. It’s something we can decide we’re going to practice much like throwing a ball. The choice to be compassionate can become instinctive with practice.”
Listen to the full TED Radio Hour episode with more from Tippett, a former nun, a Fox News contributor who gets hundreds of hate mail letters a day, and the man who says digital screens are getting in the way of the transformative power of compassion, here.
So, as we sit down to carve out the future of 2017, let’s all make one small note to…just be a little nicer.