Often, I hear people saying they want to be nice and how important it is to be nice to people. We value being nice in our culture. That is what good people do. We are nice to others. And people who are not nice, well that is not good. I have news…nice is one of the worst things a person can be. Especially being nice to yourself.
You may think I’ve lost my ever-lovin’-mind. Maybe, but I digress. Lest you think I’m crazy, let me explain.
I’m sitting in a meeting discussing a person that is struggling at work. He is struggling and not doing good work, and essentially needing help. Several of my colleagues don’t want to tell him about his poor performance because they want to be nice. Is this truly of service to this person?
Or, you’ve had a very stressful day…very busy, lots of crazy, and lots of self-criticism. You say to yourself, “I’m going to be nice to myself, and give myself a treat. How about just stopping off at the Dixie Donut shop.” Follow that up with “I deserve it,” that typically comes as rationalization from sweets. Is this truly of service to you?
Or, the woman who is in a relationship and she is not happy. But she doesn’t tell her partner because she don’t want to hurt his feelings. She wants to be nice so she keeps it to herself and holds it all inside. Is this of service to her or her partner?
Nice is the enemy.
As far as I’m concerned, Nice is the enemy. It is the enemy of happiness and of authenticity. Nice is a fake and sterile way of being that does not truly reflect what is going on in a person’s life.
But what is the alternative? Being mean?
NO. The opposite of nice isn’t mean, it is compassion. I learned this from one of my hero’s Cheri Huber whose main work is about compassion..self-compassion.
Compassion is telling that person who is doing poorly at work that they need help. It opens up an authentic communication opportunity. It allows for truth. Maybe they are struggling because they really want to be somewhere else.
Compassion is putting the cake aside and eating fruit because you’ve set an intension to take care of yourself. Compassion is taking care of yourself after a stressful day by doing things that feed your soul (not your stomach). A walk in the woods, a good book, or time with friends.
Compassion is being honest with a partner in order to have an open healthy discussion about what is next. It might be hard, but it also might be just what moves the relationship forward.
Compassion is authenticity and centeredness. It stems from our inner goodness. It may be lead to some feelings of discomfort in the short run, AND in the long run it ends up being, well, more compassionate.
What is the most compassionate thing you can do right now?
So ask yourself, what is the most compassionate thing you can do right now? For yourself? At work? In your relationship? For the world? What would you do if your actions came from a place of truth (not should or supposed to)? From a place of clarity and intension?
It is possible to live from a place of compassion for others. Compassion for yourself. To come from a place of compassionate action.
Try on Compassion.
If this is new to you, I encourage you to try *one* compassionate action. For goodness sake start with yourself. Martha Beck says “The compassion I’m referring to isn’t about narcissism. It’s about giving yourself the acceptance, love, and esteem you’d give your best friend.” Treat yourself as your best friend! We all can get a sense for what we would tell our friend! Send yourself to bed when you are tired. Feed yourself healthy food not because you should, but because you have compassion for this human who really wants to live a healthy life. Use kind words in your head and give yourself credit for all you do instead of using self-criticism.
I promise, you won’t regret it.
Then let me know how it goes…
Peace and Compassion,