Why It’s Okay to Not Be Nice.

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Growing up Catholic can do a serious number on you.

I grew up with the famous phrases, ‘Love thy neighbor’, and ‘Do unto those as you would have them do to you’.  I’ve gotta say, overall—sound advice.  It pays to think before you speak.  And it’s incredibly important to see both sides of the coin and to move into another’s space and energy without judgment.

A wise mentor recently reminded me to do my best to learn how to not react. I stared blankly wondering if I was doing a good job.

Not exactly what he meant.

He told me the importance of observing without rash reactions.  He stressed the importance of being a gentle and kind observer as to not tangle your energy in others that are looking to dig their claws in.  This is especially pertinent to the people who challenge us regularly.

We all have them—old flames, current flames, mother-in-laws, mothers by blood, co-workers, web surfers who comment maliciously on blogs, citizens who voted for Bush, people who don’t like mustard—the list goes on.  These people represent a vampiric energy that can suck us dry if we allow it.

I always figured there were two divergent paths to take with these types of people.  One would be to say:

“Screw this.  I don’t like you.  If we were ten I’d drop you from the monkey bars belly down.  Jerk.”

Or. . .

Try your best to surround those who push your buttons with love and compassion.  I’d try to find qualities about these people that I could connect to and respect.  Some people were much harder than others and some so difficult that I would feel fully depleted by the end of our interaction.  I would beat myself up because I had so much difficulty in seeing their good side.  Little did I know there was a Lucky Door Number 3—

It’s okay to not like someone.

Really?  I always associated not liking someone with being mean.  Mean isn’t really part of my vocabulary unless wedged between “makes a” and “chicken meatball pasta”.  I even considered watching Lindsey Lohan in action to learn a few tricks.  Problem is—it just ain’t me.  I don’t like to be mean and I especially don’t enjoy being on the receiving end.

It all came to a head recently when someone I have tried to be good to for what seems like several lifetimes decided to attack.  They pounced, attacked, tore, and ripped into my emotions after what I had considered a darn good attempt at kindness.  I immediately wanted to go into a puzzle-solving place of, ‘how can I make this better’, but then stepped back.  I hadn’t earned any of this animosity and if anything, I deserved some gratitude for my consistent efforts to be kind.  I was sick of playing Mr. Nice Guy (I don’t make much of a man of any kind, really).  I kept a civil tone and decidedly stood up for myself and protected my invaluable energy and space.  I cut the nice ribbon and watched it flutter away, and you know what—it was beautiful.  I swear I heard the ribbon whisper, ‘Thank you.  Now I can rest”.

The soothing voice of my mentor filled my brain as I sat trying my best not to react.  I’ve only ever wanted to love and be loved.  That sentiment stemmed from a place of fear.  Fear that not being loved would mean I was deeply disliked—a crude thought my sensitive Gemini soul couldn’t bear.  I chewed on my ego as I eyeballed Door Number 3—it’s okay to not like someone.  I needed to drop my fear of being disliked and stop allowing myself to be used as a doormat to someone eager to drag their fear-spiked boots all over me.

It’s okay to not be nice because it doesn’t translate to being mean.  Draw boundaries.  It translates to respecting yourself and your energy.  I had invested way too much time and energy into healing a situation that will forever be aiming a knuckle sandwich in my direction.

I chose to love myself instead of entertaining fear.

I don’t have to be sweet, nor need I be sour.  Simply a perfect yogic blend of balance and the ability to withdraw when need be.  In respecting my space, I create my own reality and can move forward knowing that I’m not too kind, nor too mean.

I’m just right.

Kathryn is a lover and teacher of yoga by day, a wizard in the kitchen by dinner time and a professional dog snuggler at night.

photography by Heirloom Creative

Follow Kathryn @kathrynbudig or on Facebook


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Kathryn Budig

Kathryn is a lover and teacher of yoga by day, a wizard in the kitchen by dinner time and a professional dog snuggler at night.

Follow Kathryn @kathrynbudig or on Facebook.

Find her at kathrynbudig.com


75 Responses to “Why It’s Okay to Not Be Nice.”

  1. Scott says:

    Your post resonates with my own experience. I was raised to be nice and kind and it was important to me to be liked. I have learned after many hard lessons that there are some people are simply toxic and it is best to walk away. I seek out people who enjoy being in relationship with me and with whom I enjoy being in relationship.

  2. Alcarine says:

    Door number 3 where have you been all my life! I’ve often struggled with the feeling of disliking someone and blaming myself for this ‘failure’. Now I plan to lock them all behind door number 3 and move forward with my life in a beneficial and grown up manner. Better be a big room …

  3. mauraboland says:

    I have ended up with plenty of boyfriends because I was 'too nice" this was a great read. True, so very true from the catholic girls rule book..

  4. Mello7 says:

    That has happened to me a lot. It is really hard. I feel that way. I am so nice, why people are mean to me? What did I do? It has created some kind of anger within me. I am getting to the point of saying 'f.. you' to people that are like that. And, probably after I really give up I might find some peace and start pleasing myself. We have to go through phases before being ready to the next steps in our personal evolution.

  5. Lise says:

    Perfect for me at this time… Just can't stop letting those doing the attacking stop living rent free in my head!!

  6. John H says:

    I have lead a men's group at one of the New Thought churches and there is always talk about "unconditional love". I saw myself and other men grapple with the conflict of our nature and conditioning to be assertive and stand up to bullies. Suddenly it dawned on me that, as an adult, unconditional love meant finding the conditions where I can still feel loving toward you. Mother Theresa can be close in and cozy. Charles Manson may have to remain behind bars in a maximum security prison for me to feel compassion for him. Our boundaries protect our capacity for compassion. We have to love all parts of others, even their wounded and damaged bits. We don't have to necessarily go into their pit of agony, but find the place where we can feel our heart and the other's pain and hold them together in compassion. Respect for adult wounds does not mean we have to wade in and try to "fix" it. That type of "love" is from the ego not the heart.

  7. Sara says:

    Love this one! Thank you so much. So relevant for us women who learn to be nice nice nice from day one. I am teaching my daughter its okay to be a Bitch! ;))))) Much love.

  8. Priscilla says:

    I needed that reminder.

  9. Hair Masking says:

    I anon capital to go into a puzzle-solving abode of, how can I accomplish this better, but again stepped back. I hadn't becoming any of this acrimony and if anything, I adapted some acknowledgment for my constant efforts to be kind. I was ailing of arena Mr. Nice Guy (I don't accomplish abundant of a man of any kind, really). I kept a civilian accent and absolutely stood up for myself and adequate my invaluable activity and space. I cut the nice award and watched it agitate away, and you apperceive what's it was beautiful.

  10. Jewelry By Andrea says:

    Love it! So true!

  11. Whitney says:

    Thank you!! So needed to hear another person's similar experience and conclusion!!

  12. Liza says:

    Read it again, and love it!

  13. srichey321 says:

    Nothing wrong with "not being nice", but needs to be tempered with simple human decency.

  14. Rashed says:

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  15. MistressNomad says:

    Totally agree. There's no reason to keep pandering to people who are mean to you — that's the mindset of an abused person.

    There's also no reason to be mean. Not just because it's, well, mean, and putting more negativity in the world doesn't solve anything, but also because it rots YOU from the inside. Why hurt yourself over a person who's not worth it?

    I try to always remain polite, and simply drop people from my life who are disrespectful, or not worthy of respect (beyond their basic humanity, anyway). If they keep trying to drag me back into it, I state simply that I don't want to be around them.

    I'm not hiding that I don't like them. But I'm trying to make it focused on "I don't want to be in these kinds of interactions" rather than "FUCK YOU!" There's no reason for fighting.

    There's also no reason to let yourself be disrespected.

    Forgive and try to understand everyone. But that doesn't mean you should put up with them or allow them to affect you.

  16. Rakhibul says:

    Thanks for the post and sharing the blog. Valuable and excellent post, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts.
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  17. Liz says:

    I learned this lesson a couple years ago, leaving behind those who stomped their “spiked boots” all over my face, too. And wow– what a relief that has been! To no longer have that kind of negativity in my life has opened a floodgate for love and opportunity.

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