There’s this misconception that being a nice person is, well, nice. Sometimes this is true, the warm glow when you help somebody out, the gratitude, the appreciation, the recognition. It’s a little bit lovely, for lack of a better word. Being nice isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be though, and I increasingly find myself coming to the realisation that ‘nice’ is just a euphemism for ‘pushover’. It’s also worth noting that not all nice people are the same, but this blog concerns the people who are like me…the people who are TOO nice.
Over the past few weeks I have been hit hard with two different realities of being a nice person:
- You’re niceness will be abused, again and again and again.
- Nice people can’t stop being nice.
With regards to number one, people will tell you to stand up for yourself. They’ll roll their eyes and they’ll tell you just to cut the other person out of your life. Why do you let them hurt you again and again? The problem is that no matter how much somebody hurts you, nice people rally don’t want to upset other people. Even though subconsciously, somewhere deep inside, we know that if that person is treating us that way then they probably won’t even give you a second thought let alone miss you or be upset by you cutting them out of your life. Niceness isn’t just a switch that you can turn off, it’s engrained deep in your soul. Let us down as many times as you want, we will probably still find some way to forgive you, some way to justify your actions to ourselves. Nice people lie to themselves a lot. I’ve spent 8 months justifying the actions of somebody who has let me down on an almost weekly basis, a pathological liar. Why has it gone on for so long? I kept telling myself that this person was one of my best friends,to the point where there was a time when I had persuaded myself that I needed this person in my life. So you forgive them again and again. They did you a favour one time and so you feel like you owe them. The truth of the matter is that you don’t owe them anything, but you can’t stop yourself. You need to be nice, you can’t do anything that might have a negative effect on their life, you need them to like you, you need to be liked. I’m not an idiot, I know that is not how friends behave. Friends don’t tell you stupid lies, friends don’t let you down all the time, friends don’t hurt you. That’s not what friends do. It is, however, what people do when they find out you’re a nice person. They will walk all over you, and trample you into the dirt then leave you there to pick yourself up and dust yourself off. They may be a pathological liar, but I am a pathological forgiver. There’s a funny thing about nice people where we actually all have really high standards, even though we would never admit it. We know that we would do nearly anything for some people, and inevitable we would do something for nearly anyone, and by default we kinda expect other people to do the same for us. this just isn’t the case.
So one day I snapped. An opportunity presented itself, and I took it. Briefly. I decided that I wasn’t going to be a nice person anymore, I couldn’t stand the hurt. My mission was simple, to build this person up then crush them with the sole intent of causing maximum levels of emotional pain. I wanted to find out just why exactly some people find it so easy to hurt other people. It must be easy, it must feel great. It would be an empowering experience, possibly even life changing. The reason I say ‘briefly’ is because my psychotic episode only lasted a couple of hours. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t bring myself to intentionally inflict emotional damage on another person. This was a nice person, somebody who only wanted good for the world. Someone in whom I saw a lot of myself. With my own knowledge of how scarring emotional pain can be, how could I possibly want to put somebody else through that? What kind of person wants to upset somebody rather than help them? Whoever they are, I learned that day that I am not one of them. I so desperately wanted to be on the other end of it, but I learned so deeply that I would probably never be that person. I should not do it, I could not do it, I would not do it.
There has to be rewards for being a nice person though, right? The truth is that there are only a few, if any, and I think that this is something which society needs to address. The world would be a much less pleasant place if it weren’t for the nice people, yet they are never treated as the precious little diamonds that they really are. I know I’m a nice person, on the most part, but that is no excuse for you to take advantage of it. Nice people don’t strive for acknowledgement, but it’s still nice to have your kindness acknowledged and respected rather than have your personality taken advantage of.