One Weird Idea That Will Make You Instantly Happier
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Cindie Chavez ©2018
Happiness. At the bottom of every wish and desire generally sits the ultimate goal of happiness (or peace, or freedom — at least those are the top three that I usually excavate from the rubble of “this is what I want”.)
For years I suffered in an untenable relationship, trying as hard as I could to be whatever I needed to be to create harmony. A peaceful, happy relationship was my goal. And try as I might it just wasn’t happening. I had always heard that we reap what we sow, that if we’re good to others that goodness would come back to us, maybe even multiplied, and yet…wasn’t happening.
We often want an amazingly romantic relationship, vibrant health, and of course oodles of money that flows to us effortlessly (we respectfully call it ‘wealth and abundance’) — because we automatically believe that with those three wishes we’ll also get happiness, or freedom, or peace — or the trifecta of having all three. I really wanted all three, but I had been happy without abundance, without wealth, even in times of poor health I had experienced joy, but this unhappy marriage stuff was hard. “Great relationship” became my first priority — but it was eluding me.
Until I figured out where I was going wrong. And thankfully, I am now in a vibrantly healthy relationship that feels like a million bucks. (See what I did there?)
And yes, I feel happy. And free. And peaceful. The trifecta — Happiness, Freedom, and Peace.
So I want to give you one weird idea that will bring you that much closer to all three.
Stop being so damn nice.
Even though we have popular memes of “nice guys finish last” and “only the good die young” — still — it seems that “being nice” is on the top of every woman’s list of how we want to be (and some men’s lists too — and unhappily on many men’s lists of how women should be. Sigh).
And if this idea of dialing back the niceness triggers you it’s probably because you’ve invested a lot of time and energy being nice, and developing a “nice” reputation.
And it’s no wonder, we’ve been socialized to “be nice” since birth. “Pretty is as pretty does”, “Sugar and spice and everything nice”, “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all” (that one REALLY irks me), and of course the ever-present and incredibly simply put admonition — “Be nice!”
I’ve been the poster child for NICE most of my life. Even at my most badass — there was always still a little invisible halo floating around my head reminding me that I should be a nice girl because that’s what is expected of me.
I’ve choked down enough restaurant meals that weren’t right because it didn’t seem nice to send it back. And believe me, sending it back with a smile has it’s own complications. Smiling when it isn’t appropriate is just another symptom of socialized niceness. When my sons were teenagers they dubbed that smile “restaurant smile” — and in their unstifled opinion it was worse than just filing a complaint. Why? Because it wasn’t real. It was contrived. Fake.
Are you squirming yet? I ask because often when I bring up this subject I notice resistance in my hearer — and I’ve come to realize that it’s because when I say “Don’t be so nice” what my hearers sometimes hear is “Be mean”.
But I’m not encouraging you to be mean. I’m encouraging you to be real.
Authentic. Yeah, that word. In coaching circles and personal growth books and programs we hear an awful lot about authenticity — and sometimes we define authenticity as coming out about our sexual orientation or gender identity, or feeling free to practice whatever spiritual path we feel best traveling, or feeling free to dye our hair blue, or wear whatever clothes/jewelry/tattoos/cosmetics feel good to us. I say YES to all of this…and it very well may be a milestone on the road to authenticity, a liberating outward sign of freedom.
But…(you knew there was a but coming didn’t you?)
But, all of that brave authenticity (and it does indeed take bravery) is still not going to feel fulfilling if we can’t be real (authentic) about what we are feeling — and sometimes what we’re feeling isn’t going to be “nice”.
Sometimes we feel angry, frustrated, disappointed, exhausted, confused, lost, terrified, lonely, scared, witless, uncomfortable, turned off, sad, disgusted, and a bazillion other feelings that don’t feel so “nice” to express.
It might help to know the origins of the word “nice” — Middle English, foolish, wanton, from Anglo-French, silly, simple, from Latin nescius ignorant, from nescire not to know.
Foolish, wanton, silly, simple, ignorant — not words I’d like to adopt as part of my personal descriptors.
But kindness is another matter altogether, and for the record, we can always be kind while we are expressing any and all of the not-so-nice feelings. Kindness is nearly always a great choice. Niceness, not so much.
Niceness remains silent to avoid conflict. Niceness looks the other way instead of getting involved. Niceness laughs at jokes that are insulting. Niceness stuffs down the bad restaurant meal with a smile and stuffs down feelings instead of formulating a way to communicate them with kindness and self-respect.
Are you ready to be instantly happier? Then start noticing the difference between being nice and being kind. Notice when you’re giving away your power in the name of niceness.
Be on the lookout for opportunities to be kind while standing in your truth.
Recognizing that niceness isn’t serving you does not put you in the position of having to choose between being a nice girl and being a mean girl. Learn how to choose kindness instead. It will take practice. That’s okay, it’s part of the process of becoming happier, not to mention more kind and more powerful.
I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s time to stop being a nice girl, and become a kind, happy, and powerful woman instead.
Cindie Chavez is known as “The Love & Magic Coach”. She is the creator of MOONLIGHT™ – A Course in Manifesting Love and she has some great free stuff for you at her website: www.cindiechavez.com