There is a lesson in life that takes most of us way too long to learn. It revolves around being “nice”.
That word “nice” can take on a bit of an ugly meaning to those getting a little older and into their 30s.
As you age, you learn, often the hard way, that being nice is not always delivered from an authentic place.
We live in a world where politeness and being cordial to one another are taught to us from a very young age.
Don’t cause trouble. Follow the pack. Fit in. Get along with people. Don’t question authority. And, above all else, smile on the outside no matter how you really feel on the inside.
Being “nice” is expected of us at this point and any deviation from the norm is considered rude and to some degree disobedient to common practices of behavior.
The problem with “nice” is that it is superficial. We tend to wear it like a mask on top of how we are really feeling at any given time to appease societal norms.
The net effect is our own authentic repression.
People have a tendency to distrust inauthenticity. It feels manipulative and lacks in the self respect we usually admire in others.
When you act “nice” instead of “real” or authentic, you are faking your feelings and sacrificing yourself for the expectation of another.
It’s a form of approval-seeking and it’s the kind of cringeworthy behavior you see when you run into that person who is constantly trying to please everyone around them in order to validate their self-esteem through others.
Being nice does have its place.
You wouldn’t want to show up to your job, belligerent, telling off your co-workers and frightening everyone around you with aggressive glares.
However, when you are nice in an effort to receive validation or approval, you are setting yourself up for a whole lot of heartbreak.
Trying to be nice for the sake of how you are received by others is self-sabotaging.
It’s inauthentic. It’s not being true to yourself. It chips away at your personal integrity.
There is freedom in not caring what other people think of you.
You should try to play in that space.
When you lose your need to seek approval, you free yourself to act authentically and unapologetically live your life from a place of passion.
You become “real”. You become relatable. You become down to earth.
We’ve been told for so long to act a certain way that it can be hard to rediscover what your authentic self actually is.
The key to this rediscovery is mastering the 6 major practices of self-compassion:
- the Practice of Living-Consciously,
- the Practice of Self-Assertiveness,
- the Practice of Self-Responsibility,
- the Practice of Personal Integrity,
- the Practice of Personal Acceptance
- and the Practice of Living Purposefully.
It is a journey for each one of us to exercise each one of these practices and to cultivate your own authentic self.
Until then, this is just a friendly reminder to care a lot less about being “nice” and care a whole lot more about being “real”.