Being kind vs nice

There is an epidemic of nice people raging through the world at this moment, and I don’t mean it in a good way.

Everywhere I turn I see people who have no backbone, who are so afraid to have a personality that they just smile and nod to everything everyone around them says, they stand for nothing and accomplish nothing.

These same people will get caught up in the internet wars, becoming little social justice warriors, but they have put zero effort into actually researching and understanding any of the topics they are raging about.

They are just putting on this nice person act.

Kindness is a different thing.

A kind person does something out of genuine empathy, they are the kind of people who radiate a kind of warmth whenever you’re around them, they bring a sense of calm to whatever situation they are involved in because they are compassionate people.

That is because truly kind people are strong. They know who they are and what they stand for and are not afraid to get their hands dirty. They don’t waste their time moaning and complaining on twitter and facebook, they are out there in the trenches, whether it’s in their own cities or out in the world, they are melding thought with action.

I have met very few genuinely kind people in my life. When I do, they make me feel guilty simply by existing and being who they are.  They inspire and make me want to be a better person.

We desperately need more people like that in our lives, and I wish that social media platforms would highlight more of these people, instead of popularizing this fake let me be nice to the homeless person so I can get a million likes on my page kind of people.

We can do better folks, there are beautiful people all around us.

Understanding through Art

Art, in its many forms, can touch us deeply in the most beautiful of ways, or leave us scarred and ashamed.

Reminders of human atrocities are scattered throughout History side by side with acts of courage and kindness.

Whole countries lay down to sleep every night with the memories of war and its consequences. Some have been defined by those wars in the minds of all other peoples, replacing an entire history with just the one period of time.

Artists, whether through painting, music, film and other mediums, attempt to imprint the feeling of these moments in time through their respective art forms.

To draw the suffering of a Vietnam war veteran onto paper, showing his pain through the weary lines of his face and sadness tinged eyes.

To encompass the anguish of a Mother who lost her child to starvation during the war in song and dance.

To force viewers to truly see and work through the emotions of a terrible situation through a documentary or biography.

Art can help us to understand these terrible moments, so that we can develop our empathy and stretch ourselves out, expanding our perspective.

In that understanding comes the ability to see the world for what it truly is, a harsh, unforgiving place, but also one of breathtaking beauty.

Appreciating the little moments of compassion and joy comes only after seeing how bad things can be. I for one am glad to have had the relative boredom of my life, especially after seeing the pain that many people around the world have had to endure.

And I am thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow from the experiences others have been kind enough to share with me, and I hope I can use this knowledge to further my own art.

I hope you all have this opportunity as well in your lives, so keep your eyes and ears open, because these stories, this art, is everywhere.