It’s just not nice … to be nice

“I was trying to be nice. ”

How often have you found saying or thinking those words? As far as I’m concerned, it’s an epidemic that keeps us from really living our lives.

I remember that I used to believe that I was actually doing a good in the world by trying to be nice. I also remembered how fantastically frustrated I was all the freaking time as a result because it rarely ever worked out.

Being nice and getting the expected results is about as reliable as getting what you want from a slot machine – you want the pay out, but who knows when it’ll come.

Let’s think about this statement for a moment. Trying … to be nice. Okay, now let’s really think about it (together).

When trying to be nice we too often end up mad at ourselves or the other person because (get this!) we are doing something, saying something or being something that we don’t really want to. No wonder it doesn’t really work out! So blame is offered as the temporary Tylenol of the ego directed either outward or inward. And darling … that is neither pretty nor with any purpose. What we actually end up feeding in the process is a state of not trusting life. Do you have any idea how slow and pointless life feels when you don’t trust it?

Oh wait, maybe you do. Trying to be nice would make it feel that way.

When “trying to be nice” is in progress, here’s the anatomy of what’s actually happening: 

1. I’m wanting something from another that I don’t actually want to ask for (because I’m embarrassed or afraid).

2. I’m expecting someone to say or do something without actually wanting to say anything directly about it (because I’m embarrassed or afraid).

3. Yoda said it best: “Do or do not, there is no try.” So I’m trying to do something that isn’t even possible. Talk about setting myself up for disappointment! And Yoda would know because the Force was always with him …

Nice isn’t looking so nice after all is it? It actually sounds passive aggressive, controlling and manipulative – but since those don’t sound so “nice”, let’s just ignore those shall we? That’s what nice people do – ignore things.

Contributing who you are isn’t about being nice, it’s about being real. Based on results, what we really do is use “nice” to prevent ourselves from really living.

So, what is the antidote for the crippling epidemic of niceness with an impact worse than alcoholism?

It’s kindness.

So how did everyone get so invested in nice? First you have to understand that as a child you were taught to “be nice” because everyone appreciates manners.

Manners inspire people to want to be of service to you and you to them. BUT then it all got twisted up with fear, guilt, and shame in the mix and so “be nice” was born.

So then you learned to act in ways that cost you your time, energy and love (yes, you need to love yourself and you did once very much). Trying to be nice actually makes you mad, but since it wasn’t nice to be mad, you started to expect others to do likewise and that is how violence was born. “Niceness” became a transaction and inspired and kind acts “walked the plank” when your ship became taken over with acts of suffering, obligation, an “have to do this’” and “have to do that’s”.

Is it any wonder that so many don’t even know what makes them genuinely happy anymore? You wander so far off your own path that you can’t see where you came from and aren’t sure where you’re going. Take it from me, a recovering people pleaser – your path is untouched and awaiting your arrival at any moment you choose.

So, what can you do right now? Next time you even think about being nice to someone else, first ask yourself if what you’re doing is also being nice to you too (equally so). Otherwise learn to disappoint others so that you can please yourself. It’s kind not to feel ill toward yourself or another. That’s what nice people do – they often feel ill towards themselves or others.

If you do find a way to be “nice” to both yourself and another AT THE SAME TIME as in, IN THE SAME MOMENT and through the use of ONE ACT – guess what? It’s an act of kindness. There’s magic in kindness that inspires and makes the world and the people in it vibrant, vivacious and va-va voom!

Jewel after all never sang that ‘niceness’ mattered in the end. The line is: “In the end … only kindness matters.” You can hear the song in your head now can’t you?

And a word of advice: If you see a nice person. Run.

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