Day 743: Be nice to me

Exactly a week ago, I attended a meeting of doctors, nurses, and other treaters at the large hospital-based primary care practice where I work. We started the meeting by taking turns talking about anything we chose — work, personal life, whatever.  The person who went before me described something stressful going on her in life, and then said, “So, be nice to me.”

During my turn, I spoke about the therapy groups I offer for people with depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as my new in-the-moment responsiveness for patients expressing  need and distress during their doctor visits. To end my check-in, I mentioned how I’ve been dealing with personal medical issues and uncertainties recently, and I ended with the same request: “Be nice to me.”

It’s nice to ask for niceness from nice people around you, isn’t it?

The day after that meeting, I consulted with a new cardiologist — Dr. Landzberg at Boston Children’s Hospital — which I wrote about here. Yesterday, I heard from my long-time chief cardiologist at a different hospital, Dr. Deeb Salem, who is always nice to me. Dr. Salem nicely sent along to me Dr. Landzberg’s nice note about last week’s consult.

Before I reveal that, I’m going to request this:

Be nice to me.

Despite my dreams/hopes/wishes to the contrary, Dr. Landzberg agreed with my other cardiologists who believe that I will most likely need heart surgery to repair or replace my valve. When? That is unclear, at this point. Even though it would be nice to think surgery is in the distant future, it might be sooner than nicer/later. To determine the timing, I’ll be undergoing (with various degrees of niceness) lots of tests, including a test I’ve had once before, which was definitely not nice to me.  That test is a transesophogeal echocardiogram, which I shall not discuss in detail here, because I want to be nice to you. Instead, I shall offer this nicely short description: gag me with a spoon (or a medical device).

Here’s some nicer news: I asked Dr. Salem about my plans to visit California at the end of February with my son, and Dr. Salem nicely approved.

I received all that not-completely-nice news yesterday afternoon, when I was at work.  Earlier in the day, I had met with two nice people, in individual therapy, who were hurting emotionally. My main prescription to both of them was

Be nice to yourself

… because — as I’ve noticed in my many nice years on this earth —  people in pain can be the OPPOSITE of nice to themselves. That’s neither nice nor helpful.

Nicely inspired by that, I am ordering myself in this moment (and — why not? — every nicely subsequent moment) to

Be nice to me.

Nice. Feel free to nicely join me in that nice commitment to be nice to oneself, whenever possible.

I think it would be nice to share, at this point, some nice photos I took yesterday:


I don’t know if this is nice or not, but when I’m stuck in nice traffic I sometimes take photos to nicely pass the time. That bumper sticker nicely caught my eye on my drive in to work, because “Lax” is the abbreviation for the Los Angeles Airport, the February destination for me and my nice son (who will turn a nice 17 years old during my time in California).

Next nice photo?


The above is another nice prescription I offered one of my nice patients yesterday morning, as I invited him to gain some nice perspective on a worry that was not-so-nicely taking up a lot of time and space in his head. Hmmm. Maybe I could nicely give myself that same nice prescription, as a helpful reminder about future heart surgery.


That’s Mike, one of the very nice nurses who was at the meeting last Tuesday. Since that meeting, EVERY TIME MIKE WALKS BY ME OR MY OFFICE he says, “Be nice to Ann.” As a matter of fact, Mike is saying “Be nice to Ann” as I’m taking that freaking photo. Nice, Mike.

I’ll have to tell Mike how nice that makes me feel (even though we’ve only been nicely teasing each other about it, so far). I’ll take that nice action, today. Here’s another nice idea: why wait letting people you know you appreciate them?


That nice photo shows Mary, one of my incredibly nice co-workers (nicely appearing previously in this nice post) showing me a gift one of her artistic patients appreciatively and nicely drew for her. Isn’t that a wonderfully nice present for somebody who listens so nicely and so well?


There’s a nice, healing heart that previously appeared in this post, many months ago. That heart is nicely requesting that we take what we need. From the two nice choices there — understanding and strength — which one would you take? I also want to nicely remind you that this doesn’t have to be one-or-the-other: you could nicely take both, if you choose.

For my last photo in this nice post, here’s another nice heart for you:


Speaking of nice, here’s Nicely-Nicely Johnson from Guys and Dolls, singing a very nice song:

(YouTube has that very nice version of “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat” here.)

You know, writing this nice post for my nice readers has brought some things home nicely to me, right now:

  1. If I’m nice to myself, I don’t really need everybody else to be nice to me all the time.
  2. We all have to deal with nice and not-nice things in our lives.
  3. If we’re too nice and too afraid to rock the boat, we might not make some very nice and important changes in this world.
  4. It’s still nice to be nice to each other, as best we can.

I would truly think it nice if you leave a comment — nice or not-so-nice.

Many thanks to all the nice people appearing in and contributing to this post and to you (of course!) for nicely visiting my blog today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 57 Comments

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57 thoughts on “Day 743: Be nice to me

  1. I used to think that “nice” was such a bland word. You have brought it alive in its true meaning Ann. It really is a nice post.
    Being nice to ourselves as well as others is so important … and makes for a nice world!
    And yep – you are very nice 🙂

  2. Nice post, Ann!

  3. At school, we were always taught not to simply use ‘nice’ as an adjective – it was much too commonplace and generic. Bland, as Val (above) says. But you have really used the word to its full potential in this excellent post, Ann. Apart from totally admiring your fighting spirit, I’m really impressed by your writing skills. Your message about being nice to ourselves and others is a wonderful and important message. You sound like a lovely person and I hope everyone you meet is nice to you.

  4. I always forget to be nice to myself. Thanks foe the reminder. I hope all is well with your “gag me” procedure! Which is very fitting for California, just so you know. 😂 ((Valley Girl))

  5. I think it’s nice that you and Val are so aligned today!

    And I do love that heart and the choice to both if I need to – because it’s still there for others too!

    Have a nice day Ann.

  6. Yes, Ann. The bottom line is we must be nice to ourselves. After that, it’s even easier to be nice to not-so-nice people.

  7. “It’s nice to be important but its much more important to be nice”

  8. Ann, does it help thinking of it (the T.E. test) as getting a upper gastrointestinal (UGI) endoscopy done? I feel horrible when they gag that tube down my throat and even when they sedate me, I know they are gagging me with it. Be nice to me and try to think of it as a temporary procedure. Be nice to me and be strong for me, as I feel for you as a blogger; be nice to me for understanding why I request this from you. Be nice to me.

  9. Ann,
    Too often we must bear trials that are not so nice, simply because it is the way of life.
    Recently I read the following, which brings me comfort and strength when it is most needed.
    “Trials, tribulations, anguish and anxiety are all permitted by the very One Who gives peace.”(Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen)

  10. A beautiful and moving post, Ann. I’m thinking a hug your way.

    February is coming fast.

  11. I’ll be nice, Ann. No assignments today. Team Ann will get through this with flying colors. We’re full of niceties. California, here you come.

  12. Nice is a word that can relay so much or so little, I think some what it relays lay in how those who hear or read the words reacts to it. To me it is a lovely word that can say so much

  13. My Roget’s Thesaurus has 45 synonyms for this four-letter-word, but yours sums it up nicely. Wishing you all the best, Ann. You’re right we do have to be nicer to ourselves … and to each other. Take care. 😉

  14. Nice points you have listed in this nice post!

  15. Here’s another unappreciated four letter word that I think describes you and what you share with us on this blog– neat. You’re really neat, and nice, and it’s nice to know I can find my daily dose of very neat thoughts right here. And like everyone else here, I am thinking nice thoughts for future adventures for you, be it on the west coast or having as nice a time as you can with that esophag-whatever it is. And, didn’t Kurt Vonnegut once write something like this in Cat’s Cradle (I think, not nice enough to google it this evening)…”Nice, nice, very nice / so many people / in the same device.” Remind me some time to tell you about the night I rubbed shoulders with old KV at a coffee urn. It’s a nice story!

    • It’s very neat, for me, to have an amazingly nice and neat reader like you, Jeff, especially since you write such beautifully nice/neat poetry.

      Thank you for your neat imagining that I could actually have a nice time with a transesophageal echocardiogram. As usual, your neat writing helps me, quite nicely.

      And that’s so neat that you had a coffee connection with Kurt Vonnegut!

  16. Ann if more people took the time to be nice to themselves than all the people around them would benefit and be nice to someone else and onward it goes. I hope you are having a nice day without any doctors appointments. kath.

  17. Pingback: Day 744: Reasons Why I Do Not Want to Have Heart Surgery (part 1) | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  18. So very, uhm, well nice!! O and I’ll take the strength one. Thank you, Ann.

  19. You were very nice to all of us, giving us that wonderful “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat”. Now be nice to yourself and try to believe that this surgery will give to years and years of good health, in which you are no longer worrying all the time about the your special heart’s health. I know going through it all will be hard, but maybe not as bad as you are imagining?

  20. You inspire me to be a little “braver” with some of the relatively minor procedures and treatments I face from time to time. I can get so impatient with appointments and foliow-ups, and you are so open about your circumstances and so kind to all your fellow professionals. Thank you for sharing that part of you, Ann. I’m a Southern California gal and I’m delighted you and Aaron will be visiting. I’ll be eager to hear what you plan to do. It’s a big place. 🙂 I really enjoyed reading your prescription to be nicer to yourself/myself!

    • This extraordinarily nice comment from a nice Southern California gal inspired me to re-read my post and realize how nice it was, for me and others. Thank you for making my day much nicer. Nicely done.

  21. Pingback: Day 747: Oh bother! | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  22. I live with years of listening to myself being non-judgmental I only wish sometimes others would follow my footsteps Annie Mitchell

    • Hi, Annie! It wasn’t very nice of me to take so long noticing and responding to your comment. Please accept my nice-meaning apology about that.

  23. Pingback: Day 749: Brave enough | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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  25. I can somewhat understand your reluctance to have more surgery. My husband just had this third surgery in less than 4 months and he’s not finished yet. We’re waiting for iodine radiation treatment which means isolation and more time in the hospital. This is a lot for a man who never experienced any kind of surgery in his first 62 years of life. I hope that when you do need to have the procedure done you’ll be ready, able and willing. Thinking good thoughts. Carol

    • That’s a lot for you and he to go through, Carol. My thoughts and good wishes are with you both. And thanks for helping me get more ready, able, and willing, with all your kind comments here.

  26. Maybe if you share your dread they can pre-medicate you well. A lot of times it isnt’t offered if yo don’t ask and people suffer more than the need to. Be nice to yourself and and the doctor and the remind the nurse before the procedure. That would make it much nicer!

  27. Pingback: Day 772: Grapevines | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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  30. Pingback: Day 2947: Too nice? | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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