When nice is not kind
Have you ever thought about how little we express our truth? Since when is it okay to protect people from the truth of life and deliver it in a pretty package? Yet we do it all the time. We are certainly not doing anyone any favours. There are certain behaviours we need to stop adopting in our relationships. Protecting our friends and loved ones from themselves is not out of kindness. It's enabling and nothing else.
We, humans, do all we can to preserve a good self-concept. We pride ourselves on the ability to make others feel good. But the most important question is, a drug also makes us feel good but does it do us any good in the long run? No. I fully understand this concept because I am healing from it myself. I've watched people my whole life protect each other from painful truths. All with the belief they are doing them a favour. This does not come from a loving place no matter how many of us would love to think so.
Everybody knows someone that acts like an asshole. That seems selfish and demanding to people around them, but you know what usually happens with those people in our lives? We talk a lot of shit about them behind their backs, but we are too afraid to be upfront about their bad behaviour and letting them know it hurts our feelings. I am not saying everyone will care. There are people so lost in their trauma they become self-absorbed. But not all people are like that, and some maybe never got told that they hurt the ones around them. Give people a chance, if they don't care, well then you know that specific person doesn't have your best interest in mind, and you can make a choice. But sticking around someone toxic without saying anything is not at all a loving thing to do no matter what you have been thought. It is not loving towards yourself, nor the other person, if that is what you have been telling yourself all this time.
You see, we as a species rely on the social group. It is wired in our system because guess what? Exclusion from the group equals death. No man is an island on to themselves. I urge us all to start expressing what we feel and begin implementing people in our lives that makes us grow. But also to stop enabling the people we experience as toxic. Staying with someone that is not treating you well is not you being a good partner, it is not you being a considerate friend, it is not you being a "good person". It is simply avoiding something uncomfortable because it is the tactic we learned to stay safe. It is not for THEM it is something we do for OURSELVES. This can be a tough pill to swallow, I know. And releasing a pattern we created unconsciously takes time. But the first step is always to see reality for what it is not adding these sugar-coated stories around a situation to fit our narrative.
A key element in this is to not run away from our shame. I won't go too deep into shame for the risk of sounding like a broken record, but running from the feeling of shame does so much damage in all of our relationships. I can give you an example.
I was very in love with a guy and he ended up deceiving me, it was a mess. I was devastated. The pain of being heartbroken was horrible as we all know. But deep underneath that pain was another one more intertwined into my core. It was me being ashamed of myself. Being ashamed that fell for it all. I was scolding myself just like when I was a kid. It runs very deep we often dismiss it. From that day forward I made a deal to always be on my side no matter what. And I realized, the thing I fear is my self-concept. I also learned that if we spend our lives running from ourselves.. well we are doomed. The difference between being "nice" and being "kind" can be a tricky one. Nice is just saying yes to get a sense of belonging and it also makes you a doormat with no identity and people will take advantage of that. That is simply the reality. Kindness is thinking long-term, it is being authentic and understanding to all people, yet wise enough to know when to walk away and when it is time to speak some uncomfortable truths. It is time for us to take responsibility for ourselves and start caring about each other in authentic ways. And know that caring sometimes means walking away. We all need to learn and grow. We do that in discomfort no matter how uncomfortable it is.
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash