Why Being “Nice” Isn’t All That Nice…

gal pals unite

"Freedom is found when we let go of who we are supposed to be and embrace who we really are"

Are you nice? Funny question I know. What does that really mean anyways? I actually always prided myself as being "nice". So nice in fact, that I stuffed and repressed everything that I thought wasn't nice. Welcome to a one sided world (AKA Resentment with a capital "R")! I had fooled the outside world (or so I thought) and actually created some suffering for myself in the process.

I know exactly when it started too. High School, new school, new people, new start. I was determined to be "liked" so I poured my energy into being "likable" and in my mind that meant being "nice". I actually built up an entire identity around being nice - or so I thought, and it has stuck with me for over 20 years. Yes, I know - there are a few of you that I didn't fool and you are rolling your eyes as you read this. So don't give up on me just yet...keep reading LOL.

See, its like this, when we repress parts of ourselves the universe has this funny thing it does to keep us balanced, namely show the other side of the equation. This is where your relationships start working their magic, seemingly the people in your life start showing you everything that you are trying (consciously or sub consciously) to stuff inside of yourself. You've probably heard of this before, some of the big wigs in the self-development world call it "mirroring". That my friends is where one of two things happen, we check out or we check in. You can keep checking out but truth be told until you face the music it will keep showing up. Different people, same issues. Trust me.

So here is a NEWS FLASH...we are all just as equally "mean" as we are nice.  YUP, it's true. And subscribing to a fantasy of everything being nice will bite you in the you know what. Nice is my word but feel free to insert yours. Anything I have repressed, (and so judgements are born but that's a whole other post) has shown up IN MY FACE. My niceness cost me, my boundaries,(what boundaries?) were overstepped big time by some "really mean people" (see how that works?) and I ran myself ragged trying to prove to anyone that I was worthy of their affection, attention and love.

And the resentments kept building...which brings me back to the tidbit I wrote the other day on intention. How on earth could one create a clear intention, when you have big fat resentments(obstacles) in the way? I'll tell you, it's horribly conflicting, because as nice as I was trying to be all the time, I felt like a nasty b**** inside. I was so vested in niceness, that I had a very difficult time cultivating authentic relationships. I only wanted to be nice, and have nice people in my life. It's just not realistic, having authentic relationships means showing up without the masks, loving and accepting yourself for all of it. Neither prideful or shameful about who we are.

How about this "To know thyself is to love thyself". The implications of that statement are so far-reaching. It's a domino effect, when we love ourselves for all of our parts we can extend that to everyone in our lives. That's true unconditional love, loving every part, not just the "nice" stuff.

So, look around you, what are the people in your life showing you? Who is pissing you off? What's the common thread? Is there a theme that keeps presenting itself?

Let me know what you find.





17 Responses

  1. Charlene
    Being NICE is a life lesson. It seems that being nice is code for "take advantage of me". I have always been a nice person and am now wondering what on earth am I doing!!! Its as though as I am wearing a sign that says "I am nice person, please feel free to take advantage". Being nice has cost me a hell of a lot.
  2. Bismarck
    Being nice also cost me a whole lot of suffering. Not just suffering for myself, but suffering for others too. Being taken advantage of and knowing it, later you think it is the price you have to pay for being accepted in this world. Through diverse interaction with individuals who actually only like you because you are nice and they always get what they want without taking your feelings in consideration, there is just so much one can take. I had the courage of saying "NO, no longer" this year. I stood up for myself and broke off all the chains which held me prisoner in my own little 'nice' world. After the chains broke, these interactions with the various individuals, from my side, was honest for the first time in my life and everyone was confused because they did not know where this was coming from. Needless to say, I burnt a whole lot of bridges this year... and you know what?, GOOD. I liked the article because you emphasised on self love and self love also means self respect, and not allowing anyone to walk over you because you are nice. I won't stop being nice, but I will be honest with my feelings with a hint of 'nice'. I think one can still be friendly/nice and still address the problem with tact. My late grandmother use to say "stil bly is ook 'n antwoord" (keeping quite is also an answer). True sometimes. But I kept too quiet for too long. With this way of living my life, it can only improve.
  3. YES!YES! YES! Thank you for sharing, it's funny the lengths we "think" we need to go to for acceptance and love. I like to think of the people that have "taken advantage of my niceness" to be the very people that have done me a great service, because it was through that discomfort that I FINALLY started being true to myself. I won't stop being "nice" either...but to be truly loved I'll show my other side too. :-)
  4. Lee
    Yyes i am also tired of being nice and being played. The more nicer you are the more they wanna just take from you. And sometimes i feel like to people my feelings dont matter, that i should always be there ready to help them ready to give but to them i dont need any of that staff, I dont need to be called just to say hi how you doing, how did you travel how are the kids bla bla. when my phone rings it only people who need something from me. and i agree i am part to blame, i gave people the impression that i will always be there, by actually being there, but maybe i never showed them that i too will need them to be there for me. I too started this month to say enough is enough, i decided to not call first, not email first, not say hey let go have lunch, i wanted to see which people really want me in their lives and this one month i have realised that a few if not none. and i also had the courage of saying no i cannot be friends with you to an old friend who keeps coming back into my life whenever it suits her. my partner says it is not like me to be like this, but let me tell you it feels good to finally stand up for myself and to show my real feelings for a change. if it means people will continue abusing my kindness in the name of "nice", then i'll rather not be nice because i am sick of being taken advantage of and of being taken for granted.
  5. Jakes
    That my friend, is a neat trick. You got me to read a content free article. You goood!
  6. Tso
    whats a liberating feeling , ive also heard friends say but you are sweet , its unlike you to be upset , really . Guess what sweet is also human .. from now on i will be sweet but also cautious to those who take advantage of you.
  7. Sharen Opie
    When you just make a joke to some person and this gets taken out of all context and comes back to make you a bad person, what do you do?
  8. First thing I want to say is this no matter what, whatever the case, you are NOT a bad person. Ultimately we can only be accountable for our own actions and not for how others perceive things(that's up to them). Without knowing more about the situation my initial thoughts would be that this is an opportunity to do a self check and to think about what the intention was when the joke was made. To become really clear about what kind of place it was coming come from. Sometimes when people have unresolved "stuff" going on between each other, jokes become this back door way of trying to "slam" each other. Sometimes jokes can be in poor taste, sometimes we are insensitive or just say stupid things without considering the consequences. Sometimes we just catch people on an off day and they are hypersensitive. People are people, we push each others buttons (that's life), and we can learn a lot from our interactions. If this is really bothering you, and the relationship is important to you, sit down with this person and have a heart to heart. Let them know how you feel about them, that goes a long way. :-)
  9. Tsipi
    Many people today are so shallow that it is very difficult to have a real connection based on true feelings, thoughts and opinions so we "suck up" just to have "friends". We are trying to impress others so they will like us or will see the benefit of being with us. It is a mission almost impossible to have a real friendship...sad
  10. marie-louise
    Ditto that. Candy floss to the end.
    thought-provoking 4 the new joinees (to the site)
  12. Jagtap
    Nice post. Will bookmark your website to read other posts.
  13. Great! Thank you!
  14. […] a stand for myself, not honoring myself, saying YES, when I really meant NO and wearing the mask of “Nice Jackie”, stuffing the parts of myself that I believed to be weak, unlovable and plain old mean – among […]
  15. KB
    It's unfortunate that all this is true. congratulations to everyone who managed to break free - and honestly, this little article was fantastic. I am going through the same "burning bridges" scenario right now and I find myself very lost. It's taken me a long time to have the courage to give my own opinion and stand up for myself, but now, it seems the people in my life won't have it. If anyone has any advice on how to deal, please let me know!
  16. Thank you for sharing. Although I don't have any "advice" to give per say, it has been my experience that in the moments I felt so very lost, the desire to "find" myself became so strong that I couldn't ignore it anymore. I know it sounds a bit cliché, but if we can't come to a place of accepting ourselves completely than how can we expect that of anyone else? And the best part of it is, that once you come through the other side of this, the people that were meant to be there, will still be there. The people that love and accept us for who we are, every part. TRUST life is unfolding for your highest good, as you "burn through" the old bridges, new ones will be built that are more congruent and compatible to your new, changed energy. TRUST. When doubt creeps in I have a mantra I say to myself "Hold the vision, trust the process", this really helps bring me back to balance. Perhaps there are some words/affirmations that resonate with you, that can get you through those rough spots? Such as "I speak my truth", "I honor myself, and in doing so others honor me". Keep me posted. Hugs!
  17. Christine
    I'm in a relationship with a man who is 8 years younger than me, I thought I was quite a strong person but in the 9 months I have been seeing him, I have become like a emotional door mat to him to dump all is crap, I want to stand up for myself but don't want to hurt his feelings, I know I should end this relationship but now find myself saying I deserve it because I'm a awful person ( how did this happen ) i would never allow anyone to treat me like this ever ! I'm a nice person but I feel stuck, I love him or is that just a stupid word that makes me stay with him ?
  18. Hey there! I hear you. In my experience, the times where I have allowed myself to be a doormat have been when I have minimized myself towards that person. I raised them up, and shrunk myself. When I look back, it was the incomplete thought that this person was giving me something that I thought I couldn't give to myself. I was looking for them to "fill my cup". The gift that these people bring to us is clarity(about what we really do want for ourselves), and is an invitation to look deeper into the areas of our lives that we may feel weaker in. What do you perceive you are "getting' from him that you "can't" give to yourself? You said "I want to stand up for myself, but don't want to hurt his feelings", can I ask you something? Since when do someone else's feeling, needs, wants & desires over-ride your own? I've been there, and done that. So I get it. I really do. You have the power to choose here, and an opportunity to look at what this fellow is showing you(this is a longer discussion), as the people in our lives show us (reflect back to us) the parts of ourselves we have tucked away, or denied. Once we can clear that, our perspective really starts to change and we are no longer powerless...