Why niceness is destroying us, your children, and our relationships
Why do I resent that person so much? Why don’t I feel important? Why is it that everyone else gets what they want? Why can’t I find the courage to talk about that one thing to so and so? Why is it so hard for me to say no? Why won’t my kid stand up for himself/herself? Why does my teenager only say “I’m good” when I ask how they’re doing? Why won’t my spouse stop mistreating me? Why am I overwhelmed?
The answer to these questions is actually quite simple. I’m not going to say that it’s the only answer to these questions, however, what I’m about to discuss in this post really does account for much of the chaos that creates these questions, and it’s what I see throughout Christian neighborhoods. It’s being nice. Yes…you heard me…it’s literally the act of being nice.
Niceness is what happens when we are scared of some of the following things: anger, regret, shame, sadness, confrontation (different than contention), assertiveness, setting boundaries, and ultimately saying exactly what we want and need in a relationship. It is also what happens when we forget that we are important, and make others more important than ourselves. The golden rule states to treat others as you would be treated. Well, do you want to go your whole life without someone confronting you, giving you feedback, telling you where they stand, asking you to please not joke about certain things, showing anger when hurt, expressing regret for the way they treated you, never knowing how your loved ones feel, always being blamed for your mistakes…?
And it violates the golden rule.
The list goes on and on. We desire so much to see people as they really are, and people truly desire to see us as we really are. It’s what makes us human. When we are nice, we don’t allow others to see us as we really are. We invite them to only see the acceptable or safe parts of us, meanwhile our self-love and value goes down, because we actually know that the people around us don’t know us for who we really are. We live on stage, reading the audience and playing the part, reading the script, and doing the dance they need us to play. Oh!! it works alright. We rarely have confrontation, and we rarely are rejected, but oh the consequences. It’s downright exhausting. I can’t even count the many people who have sat on my couch, who have broken into tears, with my one simple remark…”you must be exhausted.” They then cry even harder, when I say, “and you must be so lonely…who really knows you.”
I hope and pray that anyone reading this, can hear the tone in my words. The tone I wish to express is that of passion and conviction. I can no longer sit in my chair and allow my message to go unheard. We must become brave. We must dare to make ourselves humbly important. We must do this by giving up our blame and resentments towards those we are ‘nice’ to and choose to be kind. Kindness includes love, empathy, compassion, and a VERY clear articulation of what is and isn’t okay for us…in other words…boundaries.
I’m seeing more and more young people imprisoned by this very concept. Their demonstration and on stage performance each day is creating a powerful and destructive perfectionism that is bleeding into every single choice they make. They are analyzing and reanalyzing their words, their clothing, their hair, their smile, even their walk. I’m not kidding. They are becoming petrified through the comparison to others, and out of niceness are conforming to a culture where the blind are literally leading the blind. In this day and age, this is the anxiety of this season. I’m serious when I say, you might think your child is such a nice kid, but please hear me when I say, you need to dig deep with them. You need to dig deep with yourself. The motyvs inside are very hidden.