Growing up, who was told to be nice?
“Don’t do that, be nice.”
“Be nice, even if they aren’t”
“You want to be a nice little girl, you don’t want people to think you’re mean do you?”
What is the definition of being nice? According to Merriam Webster; nice means polite, pleasing, agreeable.
Think about that for a moment? Pleasing, agreeable, this is where nice gets murky for me.
Being nice is a form of compliance, and can be quite superficial. When I turned 40, I really began to loathe the term nice and what it came to mean for me. I’ve always been the nice one. The one who would go the extra mile for someone, and this was for several reasons. One, it was how I was raised. I was always told, “it’s just nice to be nice and let others know you’re nice”. Two, a strong desire to be liked, but this is what I began to notice. Being nice was causing me more harm than good.
Being nice replaced speaking up. Being nice prevented me from setting healthy boundaries. Being nice put me in situations I could have avoided with honesty. Being nice made me resentful. Contrary to popular belief, you are not obligated to be nice.
Examples of how I practiced being nice
Speaking to someone I really didn’t care for because it’s nice and the right thing to do.
Not setting boundaries and allowing myself to be spread dangerously thin because I was being nice and I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Agreeing to shit I didn’t want to do because it’s nice.
How many of you have said yes to something you didn’t want to say yes to simply because you were being nice? Like being asked to go out by a friend? In this moment, how could you have traded nice for honesty?
Don’t answer 🤷🏽♀️. Simple. I’m still getting the hang of this one.
You: hey girl!
Them: you want to go out tonight?
You (without hesitation): thank you for the invite, but tonight I’m going to stay in, read a book, take a bath and relax.
Them: but girl I was hoping you would go out, I don’t have anyone else.
You (stick to your guns): not this time, I appreciate it though.
(And Scene 🎬)
Quite simple, tell the truth.
Now because my niceness was rooted in approval, habit, validation, lack of self esteem and conformity, over time it became a burden. I’m not saying one must be mean, but instead of doing things that look good or appeases others, do what feels good, to you.
If it doesn’t feel good, or you’re doing it out of guilt (because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings), don’t. If it in any way sacrifices who you are, don’t do it. If being nice compromises your health or just doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Choosing you and what you want and need over being nice is an act of self care.
Now say it with me, “I don’t have to nice”.
This time, say it with your chest, “I DON’T HAVE TO BE NICE”!
Until next time...🦋