Someone makes fun of me in school because I am shy. Another pupil hits me, I don’t know why.
A work colleague does not return a tool they borrowed from me. Another gamer trolls me online for not doing what he wants me to do. As if I’m supposed to know. Someone who I thought of as a friend turns against me.
I don’t speak up, make no protest and don’t fight back over any of these things and more.
Why because that is what my parents told me to do. Because I fear confrontation, and I know it’s not a solution. So I accept their bad behaviour against me.
But there is a part of me rises to these attacks and slights.
Something that is screaming inside of me.
I don’t want to be this nice!
I want to be selfish because I want my needs to be met. To be angry because I want to wreak bloody vengeance on those who would shame and embarrassment because they like it. Those who show me no respect.
I want to be stupid, foolish and make mistake because trying to be perfect is so tiring.
I want to call out those who use power for their ends. Those who cause so much suffering. Those individuals who stand against what I believe in. I want to publicly shame and humiliate for the stupid policies and ideals they stand for.
All this niceness let me feeling caged even sick.
I am far better than you, and I want you to know it.
It so much easier, to act upon it, to let the dark side flow.
This is how I feel sometimes.
The lesson I learned back then is that people are assholes. The world is a dangerous place. I’m too afraid to speak out, so I stay inside my shell.
‘Hell is other People’Jean-Paul Sartre
Back then I had such low self-esteem I felt my existence was somehow bothersome or unnecessary. So I had nothing to offer. So I had to be nice, and when I couldn’t I said nothing.
Trying to be nice Nice
I am a nice person, I don’t rock the boat, or speak out of turn. I am polite, and I keep my opinions to myself. I don’t look for a fight and if I am confronted, I walk away.
I have tried to fit in and conform, yet a part of me rebels against this.
A lot of my suffering and anxiety can be traced to the fear of speaking up. That I might upset others. This made me hold back, and not speak up. This is what keep me in prison for a long time.
Fitting in is mediocrity, that’s what I have learned. To get a successful business or relationship you need to stand out, get noticed. Be known for something by taking a stand.
I have long felt alone, that’s because I didn’t want to fit in, yet it also did, I wanted to be liked, accepted.
It happens to a lot of us I think. We hate ourselves for selling out, being part of the herd. Or we hate ourselves for not fitting in. Turning that hatred onto ourselves, a form of self-harm,
You can’t win. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
But this is no way to live. These fears become the prison that stops you from growing and finding happiness and success.
Breaking eggs, stepping on toes
My transformation can be characterised in one way by my greater willingness to speak up. I’m still not a great talker (I’m an introvert after all).
But I have learned that some people will value my ideas and opinions which gave me a greater incentive to speak more.
To transform your life away from anxiety and fear you have to take a risk. To speak up for yourself, and share your ideas even if that means upsetting others.
New ideas, new ways of seeing and doing things will always upset at least some people, change always does. But that’s not what’s most important.
What is important knowing that you can express yourself. Believing that you have the right. But also taking responsibility for whatever consequences that do happen.
To do otherwise is to live an inauthentic life. To live as I once did, too afraid to speak out, too afraid to make a difference because other people might get upset.
Upsetting others is often the only way things get better.
People will defend the status quo or their privileges, to the detriment of themselves and others. Even to the point of absurdity.
Think of the great changes that have taken place.
Civil rights, atheism, the internet, the cold war ends. Such changes upset a lot of people. Those who felt their worldview was under threat, who wanted to keep the power they had.
But that’s what change entails, and there’s no way of avoiding it.
Change must involve destruction. ‘The Old ways no longer work’ as I like to phrase it.
Old ideas, old technology, old systems, old ways of thinking. They must be swept aside unless they are still of some use ( old ideas are not always obsolete).
‘Don’t be afraid up upsetting others. Only be afraid that you don’t get to have your say’Richard Collison
It’s about honouring yourself, your wants, needs. Without speaking out you won’t get any of that.
Being nice is based upon a fear of being unworthy. Low self-esteem means we try to ingratiate ourselves to others and gain their approval, the ‘nice guy’ facade. This subservient attitude never seems to make people happy.
I wasn’t living authentically and was too afraid to stand my ground and say what I thought to be true. This had to change and we can do so by accepting we don’t need everyone’s approval.
Others opinions of us are not always true, and even though we may be wrong, we still get to right to be heard to exist.
The shame and guilt we can feel is the false idea we don’t matter. Being outspoken, passionate can be attractive to many people too.
So be nice where to can, but never let it compromise your authenticity and integrity.
Subscribe to my newsletter to get more ideas on becoming a little happier.
Image credit: dundanim / 123RF Stock Photo
This post was updated 12/12/19