This week I was reflecting back on being nice; what does that mean for me and feel like?
I know from being a child that if I wanted to fit in or be liked, I had to be nice to people. If I was not nice, I would be not liked or be part of a group.
So what do I mean by being nice?
- Agreeing to things that do not feel right to me
- Saying yes when I mean no
- Eating foods that I don’t like, just to please others
- Going to places where I don’t feel comfortable or want to go to
- Talking to people where I don’t really feel comfortable or safe.
I know when I was young, my parents would have lots of visitors come to their house and we were always encouraged to be polite and say hello to everyone, give them a hug or go sit on their laps. I also remember occasions when some visitors would come home and they just did not feel right but I was forced to say hello and go up to them, even when my whole body said No. If I refused I would get told off. There were times when I completely refused and accepted the telling off.
But as I grew older and created my own circle of friends I soon learned you had to be nice to fit into a group otherwise you would be pushed out. In those days, that was worse – not to be part of a group – as I would feel uncomfortable being left out. Friends would gang up and not talk to me; they would ignore me and not let me play with them and they would call me names. I would feel scared walking to school and going home in case someone would physically hurt me.
I know I took this behaviour into my adult life and felt I just had to be this way – this is life and nice became a normal thing. I worked out that if you are nice, you fit in and you are liked by all.
What I have learned through the teachings of Universal Medicine is that being nice is giving our power away, in pleasing other people. Being nice says to the other person, “It’s ok, you don’t need to be responsible for your actions and behaviour.” It says “my needs don’t matter only yours,” but how could this be true?
Nice has been a constant underlying pattern in my life with family, friends and colleagues. When I gained more awareness around being nice, I could feel how harming it is for everyone. By being nice I am not being truly responsible for my own actions and not allowing another to be truly responsible either. This was not easy to identify in my daily life initially, but now I can see clearly how it plays out.
More recently I have noticed that I have avoided how I have tried to please people to avoid any confrontation. This has been across the board, with everyone. I wanted to be liked by everyone but it’s not about others liking me, but about my own self-love, self-respect and being loving to myself.
Now when I sit with this in truth I realise that it is so harming, as I am not being open and honest when things are truly wrong or behaviours are not acceptable, especially when I have felt the truth in my body.
Being nice does not allow us to explore a situation to get to what is really going on, therefore it does not provide the opportunity for true responsibility, nor for any learning or understanding.
As I have been working on deepening my self-love through the connection to the stillness and inner wisdom in my body, I have been able to observe my own behaviour and the behaviour of others towards me, through our communication and movements. When I am racy inside, trying to please and be nice and entertaining, I fail to read what is really happening before me in relationships – or perhaps it is honest to say that I don’t want to feel it. By coming from a place of inner stillness, there is so much to feel and understand but I have to be willing to go there.
Normally I would get caught in other people’s lives, issues and dramas, and with that I would feel sorry for them and then get caught in being nice by wanting to help rather than being open and truthful in my expression of what I feel in that moment.
What I now realise, by not expressing my truth, is how I am allowing another to indulge in their behaviour and saying-without-saying “it’s ok to behave like that” when it’s not. This is harming by not taking self-responsibility and is not supporting them or myself at all.
So coming back to our stillness and inner knowing allows us to be aware, read the situation and express in truth. I now know how important it is to be truthful in relationships and not get caught up in being nice where I do not honour myself or the other person at all. Nice and ‘people pleasing’ is not being loving and does not truly serve.
By Amita Khurana, BSc Honours, Hotel Business Owner, Director, Practitioner/Therapist, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk UK
True Role Models – From Being ‘A Good Man’ to Taking True Responsibility for My Choices
Giving Your Power Away: Why Being ‘Good’ Doesn’t Work
Learning to Feel my Feelings: Human Beings, not Human Doings