What does it really mean?
Often, I think it’s just a convenient euphemism for a number of things:
- not having firm boundaries
Women, especially, are socialized to be ‘nice’. Many empaths and sensitive people learn to be ‘nice’ to deal with unbearable, overstimulating feelings and situations. Especially those feelings that come from saying no, because we just feel those reactions so keenly.
‘Spiritual’ people are often expected to be nice. Those that identify as being healers, too. They are also expected to be endlessly giving, nurturing, compassionate etc.
Well, I’m over it.
Because in this life, I believe that our only purpose is to show up fully as who we are, in order to do the work we are here to do, to be all we are here to be. ‘Being nice’ in the euphemistic sense runs counter to this purpose.
In order to live out this purpose, this requires prioritizing, setting boundaries, being in your own power, wielding that power with confidence and not blunt force.
However, in the real world, that is often translated as being ‘not nice’.
Because it involves saying no. It involves saying firmly, this is not what I want. This is not who I am. I cannot do this for you. I am not here to rescue you. I am not your mother. I am not a saint. I am not your unlimited support system.
It involves the risk of not being liked. (How does that thought feel to you?)
It doesn’t necessarily mean being rude or overly blunt. Expressing all of these things with grace requires practice. I am definitely still learning.
But I am over being ‘nice’. A word encoded with so much baggage – and all the different roles a person could play because of it. A victim, a martyr, a rescuer…
Is your version of ‘being nice’ just sapping your life force?
If your energy is constantly being drained, if you find that you barely have time and energy to pay attention to your own needs, projects and creativity, then perhaps it’s time to draw a line.
Remember, it’s only giving when you give from a desire to do so freely – not to make someone like you, not to placate someone else, not to make them feel better about themselves. If you give with the intention of getting something back in exchange, that is a transaction, not an act of true giving.
“Real connections we have with others happen when they come freely given with no agendas. We decide that we want to be together, we freely choose it, and it makes us feel good, plus it is always voluntary and temporary and is subject to change and negotiation. That is a healthy relationship.” – Elaine La Joie
Be prepared for backlash at the beginning
Are you over being ‘nice’ too?
People who are not used to your new boundary would most likely be unhappy about it. They can act out in the beginning, or try to convince you to go back to your old ways. Especially if it serves them! It can be hard to hold firm at this point, but you can do it. Knowing what to expect helps.
Because I am also a strong believer in constant exposure leading to desensitization. In other words, the more I expose myself to something that overstimulates me, it will soon not be as stimulating over time. So at first those reactions may be hard on you, but it gets easier.
As sensitive people, it is not fun ‘disappointing’ or ‘upsetting’ people. However, we need to understand that those feelings are fleeting, especially if our intention is not to hurt anyone. Because even if an action you are taking is in your highest good, it is still bound to upset someone. That is part and parcel of life.
Take back ‘being nice’. Choose being real. Choose being true to who you are. You can still be respectful, still be kind, still be gracious. But you no longer have to do it at the expense of your own well-being.