Today’s virtue is embodied in the word "good." The near enemy to good is a word that holds a lot of overt forms of behavioral control. The near enemy to good is “nice.” When assertiveness comes up in class, it is an excellent time to go over the difference between good and nice.
Good allows for authenticity while the term nice comes with a whole set of rules and expectations. Nice puts limitations on what you’re allowed to say or even when you're allowed to say it. It says it’s better to just go along to get along and to act differently on the outside than what you feel on the inside.
Good, as a term, says none of these things. Good allows for authenticity and can show anger when it is needed. It stands up for itself and other people. It doesn’t go along to get along. When it makes you uncomfortable but you still communicate difficult truths when they are needed, you are being good over being nice. Nice avoids difficult communication because it doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings or potentially damage or make a relationship awkward.
Today, learn to see the difference between being good and being nice. Keep "good" and let "nice" and it's long list of behavioral expectations go.
Mondays – Near Enemies
Many virtues have a near enemy. These near enemies masquerade as the actual skill and are often unhealthy or unhelpful in the long term. Near enemies create a false separation. A true virtue creates a closeness to others or even your best self.
My Writing and Other Resources for Students
A growing collection of writing and other resources for students to use to continue their growth.