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When being “nice” is harmful

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I am very guilty of this trend of always being “nice”... I am not saying that being nice is a bad thing, but when I fail to confront the truth, or bend to someone else’s opinions in direct opposition to what I know to be right.... just so that I won’t come across as not “nice”? Then it’s more pathological than beneficial. My best friend pointed this out to me the other day, and at first I was just going to agree with her, to smooth things over, and then ruminate and twist it around in my head in silence... when what she said really clicked with me. Oh, being diplomatic and tactful are completely different than being pathologically “nice” by the way! And being nice does have its place, and is appropriate most of the time in my opinion, but there are times when plain speaking and honesty are more important... I know that people in my life have been “nice” to me and skirted the truth about situations because they thought I was too fragile... and you know what? That is just insulting at its base. And I need to recognize that when I do it to others it’s just as insulting. Like I don’t trust them to react like adults. Ugh! I hate when people do it to me, and I hadn’t realized I was returning the favor. Being honest does NOT mean being nasty. To me it means trusting the other person enough to share the truth and knowing that whatever their reaction might be that I am “safe”. (Emotionally, mentally, physically ). For me always being “nice” and never confronting the truth with someone is a sign of a basic distrust and lack of faith in them. So, yes, it is insulting. And just perhaps(?) it is a wee bit about control. (Not that I have control issues or anything! Lol). I am not certain anything anyone said to me would have changed my behavior and set me on this journey to a healthier lifestyle a moment sooner, but I don’t know. People told me my “soul was beautiful”... or my cholesterol was too high... but no one said to me that my weight was not so slowly killing me. I might have had an infectious smile and a kind and gentle spirit, but if I killed myself with my unhealthy habits or secluded myself in my apartment, because it was uncomfortable to move and I was self conscious of my appearance ( I was aware of how I appeared to others I just didn’t care ENOUGH to change my circumstances) Then that smile and that spirit that other people complimented me on were wasted, lost. And no one said I needed to lose about 100 pounds or even 10 pounds, and now I am not certain if that is because they were being “nice” to me? Or just didn’t care? You see my conundrum? I need to find a balance between being nice and demonstrating that I care by sharing the truth! ( I do this with my best friend on a fairly regular basis and she does it with me, but she is the only one I feel comfortable being that open and honest with... and yes, I trust that when she says something that is hurtful, but truthful that she is coming from a place of love!). Well, I have rambled on a bit here... thanks for letting me process this... it has been on my mind for a couple of weeks. I think the reason I like the majority of the people that I have met on SparkPeople is that we are able (most of the time) of finding a balance between being nice and kind, and honest with each other. I see people cheering each other on, and most of the time when I see someone cautioning someone else it is done gently and with care and concern. That is rare IRL, and online...
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ROCKYCPA
    emoticon
    197 days ago
  • _CYNDY55_
    So True!
    emoticon emoticon

    198 days ago
  • KSNANA2
    I went through a phase in my early adulthood of being brutally honest. I regret that to this day. I didn't lose any friends, but I think I hurt a few. At least I was observant enough to see it was not a good way to live. A lot of thought needs to go into it first. Good blog!
    198 days ago
  • STRONGDAWG
    I love this blog. Excellent insights. I found myself holding my tongue yesterday in order to preserve a professional relationship. Now she is making an assumption about my beliefs that simply isn't true. If it are a closer, more personal relationship, it's find a way to correct it.

    I like your insight that not speaking truth is insulting to the other. I will keep that in mind. I believe you are right and we should find a way to speak the truth in love at all times. Avoiding the truth is not a healthy behavior.
    199 days ago
  • CHERIRIDDELL
    It is indeed a balancing act.
    200 days ago
  • DESERTDREAMERS
    It’s not only a balancing act, sometimes it’s going blindfolded through a maze.
    200 days ago
  • SASSISPRING
    One of my favourite movies is Roadhouse. In it, the main character (who is a bouncer) said to his team (paraphrasing), " If somebody gets in your face and calls you a name, I want you to be nice. Ask him to walk. Be nice. If he won't walk, walk him. But be nice. If you can't walk him, one of the others will help you, and you'll both be nice. I want you to remember that it's a job. It's nothing personal.....I want you to be nice until it's time to not be nice."

    I live by that saying.

    You shared it all very well, about the issue of "being nice" when it's really hiding things down inside, putting on fronts and not trusting the others you are with, to handle your truths. I also was in that place once upon a time and now, I am nice...until it's time not to be nice. I am much more diplomatic and I use assertive communication at least 90% of the time. And even off my job, I still hold that much of what someone says to me is not personal, it's about them, their stuff, their energy, their history.

    Except when it is about me...and thus, the balancing act.

    You really processed it all really well, and I found myself agreeing with you, in many places within the blog.
    200 days ago
  • ANHELIC
    It is a balancing act for us to go through. I have stepped away from people who were negative and now try to remain around positive people. Positive ones can build us up but we can never build up a negative one. They will only pull us down. emoticon emoticon
    200 days ago
  • 1CRAZYDOG
    Definitely a balancing act. I mean, when I think of myself, if anyone had told me I had to lose weight or I would end up in an early grave, my brain would have said that I already knew that! I DID already know that. Just looking in the mirror I knew I had to lose weight.

    But when I got real and looked @ the health problems I already had, I had that AHA moment myself. That's what my spark was.

    You know, often it's like the alcoholic or the gambler who has to hit their own bottom before they do something for themself. Someone could TELL them, but ultimately, has to be their idea.

    Interesting blog and got me thinking!
    200 days ago
  • BONNIEMARGAY
    Blessings on our healthy boundaries! (This is some of the hardest work for me.)

    I have a lot of obese friends, and they definitely know that. They do not need me to tell them.

    Health is incredibly personal. However, I will ALWAYS offer to connect with friends in a fitness activity instead of sitting around with food, and support their healthy choices in whatever way I can.

    May all beings find freedom from suffering. May we be as alive as we can for as long as we want.
    200 days ago
  • OKBACK2MEAGAIN
    Yes sometimes I think gently being told that my weight was going to send me to an early death, would have set me off on my healthy journey earlier.
    200 days ago
  • MBPP50
    It is a balancing act and I know I am guilty of being too nice sometimes but as I’ve gotten older I have found myself swinging the other way- either being brutally honest or just keeping my mouth shut. I also need to find a balance. emoticon
    200 days ago
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