You Can Be “Nice” Or You Can Be Respected – But Not Both
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I spent the first two decades of my life always trying to be “nice” to everyone around me. You may have heard the term “Nice guys finish last” a few million times, and it’s true. Not just in dating, but in life.
Why could this be?
Have you ever described someone as being nice? When you do that, what are you really saying about them?
Oh, he’s nice though.
*Shrug* She’s nice I guess.
“Nice” people typically are people-pleasers or those who don’t like to make waves.
Besides that, it doesn’t really mean much of anything, because you probably don’t know much about the person since they are always doing what they think other people want them to do.
Like the moon reflects the sun but doesn’t shine its own light, being nice simply shows us who you think we want you to be. It doesn’t show us what your own brightness looks like.
When I was considered a “nice guy” I was always trying to fit in. To be the guy that women wanted to date (it never worked). To be the guy other guys wanted to be friends with (that didn’t really work either).
And it’s primarily because I hadn’t truly worked to develop my own identity. I was simply blowing in the breeze of social pressures and never stood my ground about anything because I was afraid of being disliked.
So I would be “nice” instead.
As a result, I wasn’t respected because my presence in the world was flimsy and at the whim of whoever I was around. What I should’ve focused on, was being KIND. Generous, Goodhearted. Giving. But, firm and with boundaries.
Nice people will do whatever it takes in order to keep the peace, including avoiding important conversations or even being dishonest in order to save someone’s feelings.
When you think about it this way…being nice is actually a selfish decision, because it might be saving YOUR ass, but it’s certainly not providing any value to the people around you.
Being KIND, on the other hand, is being willing to be honest with people in a way that serves them and brings value. It may require you to give some difficult truths, but people will respect your candor and be glad you didn’t lie to them about something important.
Being straightforward doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole about it.
You can be kind, but also be direct. You can be goodhearted, but tell people what they need to hear. You can be generous, but have your limits.
Build an identity for yourself. Decide what you stand for. Be a person of principle. Understand that not everyone is going to agree with you or like you, AND THAT’S OKAY.
If you spend your life trying to be liked by everyone, you will also spend your life being controlled by everyone because every decision you make will be designed to gain their approval.
In the end – do they even know anything about you? Or are you simply reflecting their own opinions back at them?
And, how many people can you do this with until you begin to face internal conflict or be exposed as a complete fake?
Be good to everyone around you. Do not lose your kindness. Show up in the world with a giving and loving heart. But – always set boundaries for the treatment you accept in return.
There’s a reason the nice guy always finishes last. He’s taught the people around him that’s where he feels like he belongs.
I can’t guarantee that you will be liked by everyone if you stand up for what you truly believe in. But I can tell you you’ll earn a lot more respect that way.
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