After my recent blog post about my dislike of the word nice, I received a lot of feedback from readers and close friends of mine. So I asked several people to share their stories of being nice. Today’s guest post comes from a recovering nice guy.
When I met my friend Tim last year, it only took me a few minutes to figure out “He’s going to be one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.” And that ain’t a good thing. But the cool thing about sticking around and becoming friends with new people is that you get to see them actively participate in the work God is doing in their lives. And Tim is no exception. I’ve watched him get on the fast track to leaving behind all things nice and become comfortable living out of his true identity.
Here is Tim’s story in his own words:
I remember learning early on as a child that good boys are nice and bad boys are trouble makers. I got along with everyone because I wanted to be liked. And who doesn’t want to be liked? It was easier to be the nice kid than pushing back and creating waves. Stick with the status quo and you’ll be fine. Nice was not messy. Nice was safe.
But after many years of being nice I felt like it wasn’t getting me anywhere. No one, not even my family was seeing the real me. I began to see that being nice wasn’t working for me. Here’s what I figured out: Nice confined me and limited my emotions, passion, empathy and joy. Nice was a shield. Nice was not who I was, it’s what I did. Nice was the easy route, not rough, not bumpy, not ALIVE.
At the moment I decided to shed the “nice guy” persona and reveal who I honesty was, there was a dramatic shift in my willingness to engage life. This spilled over into every aspect of life. I saw it affect my friends, family and my relationship with God. It started with a willingness to let people inside and show them the real me….my flaws, fears, all the things I so carefully hid. And by doing this I ultimately was able to release my strengths. I began to own my fears instead of them owning me. I was willing to speak up and fight for myself and others. I became true to my real self. I was more capable of building deeper friendships which gave me the opportunities to willingly join in others struggles, even total strangers. The more willing I became to ask tough questions and enter difficult situations of my own, the more I was able to help people work through their struggles.
Breaking nice released passion and feelings I never knew I had. I can literally take in and give more life than was ever possible before. There is so much more of me to put on the line. I’m willing to risk. I have left the nice guy I used to be behind and I am now able to love more completely.