“You’re too nice.”
I’ve heard this a thousand times in my lifetime and I’ve never taken it as a compliment. I tried for years to bully myself into being more aggressive, but it never worked. The natural flow of my spirit combined with my life experiences have made me into the non-confrontational person that I am. But being nice and being non-confrontational are not the same thing. Too nice? I feel totally undeserving and undesiring of that distinction.
What I really am is a kind, easy going person. If I were so nice, would I find myself silently judging others for how they look, or for how they talk or carry themselves? Would I make assumptions about people based on circumstantial things like their political affiliation or their haircut? My thoughts can be unfairly critical and even spiteful at times. I’m not proud of it but I’m absolutely not ashamed of it either. I’m human. This kind of thing comes with the territory.
These not so nice thoughts come from this repressed mean girl inside of me. Let’s call her my inner bitch. I’ve never liked to acknowledge her too much, but I know now that we all have parts of ourselves that aren’t brag worthy and part of self-love is accepting all those unpretty things too. Maybe your inner mean girl will be comforted as I explain how I’ve made peace with mine.
First, l need to give you a little background on my personality. I may not be angelically nice, but I’ve always been one to think before I speak and I’m a lover through and through. There’s nothing gratifying to me about causing conflict or discomfort. I’m also a people watcher. I observe behavior and personalities the same way that some people follow stock market trends or study wildlife. I try to predict things about people. About why they look, talk and behave the way they do. Sometimes my thoughts are empathetic. Sometimes they are not.
On any given day, I could easily formulate in my mind several reasons why Coworker A thinks it’s okay to wear white tube socks with dress shoes or why Coworker B is a know-it-all and an attention whore or why Coworker C is a raging, conservative tyrant and why all of this conjecture is mockingly funny to me. But that’s not nice, is it? One might also add that it’s deceitful of me to smile and play nicely with the people that I’m having snarky thoughts about. I say it’s not. In my mind, it’s quite sincere and even karma-friendly in a twisted sort of way.
You see, it’s not like I want to be a bitch or have these thoughts. So why give my unsolicited, unfounded opinion when it’s not necessary? Unless I have a personal relationship with you, what I think of you is none of your business. I’m kind and respectful to everyone and this is how I keep my karma intact. My thoughts may discriminate. But my spirit does not.
I used to think this contradiction made me a bad person, but I realize now that my bitchy thoughts are just projections of my own insecurities. Enlightenment 101, right? We see things as we are and not necessarily as they are. So my perceptions have been shaped by my life experiences, my environment, and to a great extent – my own fears of being judged.
In order to keep your inner mean girl from running rampant, you have to understand where her angst comes from.
I don’t know if I can train my mind to observe without judging. I’m working towards that. But what I can do for now is not take myself or my mean girl thoughts too seriously. We spend way too much time trying to place a label on what we are and what we aren’t.
Shannon Ables said it perfectly, “Be impossible to define by anyone but yourself.”