By nice, I mean trying so hard to always be pleasant, pleasing, lovely, happy, positive, only doing what other people want you to do, never speaking up for fear of ruffling any feathers, keeping yourself hidden and small behind what you think other people want or expect you of you… nice.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a big advocate for treating others with kindness, care, and respect.
Be considerate and thoughtful, yes. Only doing or saying or acting in ways we think other people want us to because we want, no we NEED them to think we are super nice is a cop-out. It also generally leads to no good if this is how we chose to conduct ourselves all the time.
And here are 3 reasons why.
Being too nice keeps us from having close relationships.
When we are so nice all the time and never speak up or show who we really are, or what our preferences or needs might be, it keeps us disconnected and lonely.
Because no one can connect, I mean honestly, deeply and meaningfully, connect with you if you are not being yourself. If you are just showing how pleasant you are in order to keep everything and everyone happy all the time people are not going to stick around very long. Too nice is boring.
We want real. We need real. And although real sometimes gets messy or it means negotiating and working things out, at least we can slug through the relationship building muck together. We can both be complete and complex individuals who are choosing to show up and take turns doing the giving and taking in the relationship.
And THAT is much more interesting.
Being too nice brings out a victim mentality
“I do everything for everyone all the time. I give and give and give. I never ask for anything. I try so hard to make everyone else happy. How come no one tries to do anything for me? I so rarely ask for anything, so when I do, how could anyone say no to me? I ask for so little, don’t I deserve it? I guess no one really loves me” and so on and so forth. Any of this sound familiar?
That’s not what it is to be a mature, responsible, emotionally healthy individual. It’s not about being so nice and giving giving giving all the time so we can feel cheated or mistreated when, heaven forbid it, other people don’t lay down their lives for us when we feel like we’ve done enough to deserve it.
Yes, it does take guts to stand up and say “this is who I am, this is what I need, this is how and what I can, and want, to give. I choose not to go around in life keeping score about how many times I am nice to others and then feel ripped off and like the victim if other people don’t do the same.”
I am responsible for me, and you are responsible for you. If I want, need, or prefer something it’s up to me to voice that. Not up to you to drag it out of me, and definitely not up to you to read my mind in order to see how much I secretly think you owe me because of how nice I am to you.
Being too nice causes us to be a stranger to ourselves
When we go through the world trying to make everyone else happy and satisfied all the time and never consider our own wants, needs and desires, in a way, we are rejecting and avoiding who we really are.
No, it’s not ALWAYS about me, and no, it’s not NEVER about me. There are times and places for both.
But if we never allow ourselves to play an active and equal role in our relationships or actually even in life, we never give ourselves the chance to see, recognize, value or appreciate who we really are. You might even find that when you look in the mirror, you are not really sure what or who you see.
So my invitation to you, should you chose to accept it, is to practice being less nice. Practice being more real and authentic with others, and true to yourself. Practice sharing your thoughts, opinions and ideas even if some people may not agree with you. Be kind, respectful and considerate, yes. But small, people pleasing and hiding behind the all the niceness – no.
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