self-reflection in progress

I´m not a nice person.


I had that real­iza­tion a while ago, when I was strolling down the street and this thought — or shall I say „aha“ — crossed my mind.

Now I can laugh about it, but back then — it stung!
I didn’t do any­thing „bad“, I didn’t recall any­thing that I would label as „not nice“, and still….it felt true.
Because it was true.

I think you could eas­i­ly say I´m a nat­u­ral­ly grumpy per­son. I´m good at keep­ing a face that no one wants to deal with (btw if any­one needs advice on how to effort­less­ly keep peo­ple at a dis­tance — let me know).

But what I mean with „not being nice“, goes beyond my inabil­i­ty to smile and wish the best of the best to every per­son I encounter.

Yes sure, deep down it’s safe to say I´m an over­all good-heart­ed per­son and mean well.

But then also, deep down slum­bers a lit­tle mon­ster that awak­ens every once (or more) in a while, when it feels threat­ened in some way.
This lit­tle mon­ster choses then to either:
* blame
* crit­i­cize
* defend
* ignore
* manip­u­late
* let her eye­brows do the talk­ing

Sound famil­iar?

Are you really a nice person?

I think we live in a world where most of us walk around think­ing „I am a good per­son“ (what­ev­er that means). Or „I am a good and kind per­son who treats oth­ers with tol­er­ance, kind­ness and respect“.

Don´t get me wrong.. there real­ly are peo­ple who — as we would say in Ger­man: „haben ihr Herz am recht­en Fleck“, mean­ing, their heart sits on right spot.

But let´s define what oth­ers real­ly mean for a second.

Think about 3–5 life sit­u­a­tions where you have been rude to some­one in some shape or form:
* It could be telling some­one they are use­less because they killed your plant while you where gone.
* It could be reject­ing some­one with rolling eyes because you think they are weird.
* It could be not telling some­one the truth about how you feel about them and let­ting them think the oppo­site.
* It could be not tex­ting some­one back, because it’s (obvi­ous­ly) them who need to apol­o­gize….
* Or you left a mean com­ment of on some­ones social.

Got some­thing?

Good. (I hope so, oth­er­wise you are an angel-sent human being in disguise)

Now go check for your­self who those „oth­ers“ are, that you are so nice and kind towards.
In oth­er words, who’s left 😉

Well that’s fun isn’t it?

Let´s go deep­er, shall we..

Now, this one is bit more tricky, because it likes to hide much deep­er under the „I am a nice person-blanket“.

Think about a few peo­ple you sim­ply don’t like very much.. for some rea­son. Could be some­one from work, a some­what friend, a guy or a girl you dat­ed, this wait­ress from the cof­feeshop,…
And I don’t care if you call it „we sim­ply don’t vibe“ or if you actu­al­ly envy some­thing about them. Ask your­self this:

What have you NOT told them, but secret­ly thought aka judged about them. Their behav­ior, their look, their food choic­es, their cir­cle of friends, their job, the way they laugh, their choice to wear orange leather­pants and no shoes, their choice to drink beer at 10 in the morn­ing, etc.

Yes. We all have judged. And we all have been judged.

So why are we not „nice“?

It’s in human nature

First­ly, judg­ing in gen­er­al helps us make sense of the world. It takes time and ener­gy to under­stand every­thing we see and the sit­u­a­tion peo­ple are in. E.g when we see a tall strong black men at the train sta­tion at night, some would label him as „dan­ger­ous“. That’s a judge­ment! But it helps some of us make quick deci­sions. For our own safety.

To feel better about ourselves

By judg­ing someone/putting some­one down (out loud or inter­nal­ly) we actu­al­ly try to cre­ate a form or hier­ar­chy of I´m bet­ter than you. When we put some­one down, it makes us feel a lit­tle bet­ter about our­selves.
Often­times we do this, because our iden­ti­ty feels threat­ened by someone’s else’s. To com­pen­sate this feel­ing we tend to make our­selves look bet­ter while mak­ing oth­ers feel less. Why?
To „pro­tect“ this part of our­selves and to not lose our sense of self we are so attached to.

Could be your amaz­ing long blue hair, could be your knowl­edge about world pol­i­tics, could be the finest of all edu­ca­tion you had 10 years ago or it could sim­ply be your unique taste of music that makes you feel special.

It is easy to praise or to blame oth­ers for their actions, but unless we know their moti­va­tions, we real­ly know noth­ing at all.

Andy Pud­di­combe
To make us feel smaller/unworthy

What? Yes, it also goes the oth­er way round: Judg­ing oth­ers pos­i­tive­ly, so we actu­al­ly feel “less than” oth­ers e.g. „He is so much stronger than me“, or „She is so much smarter, she knows every­thing!“.
And no, there is noth­ing „nice“ about that. We often use this „strat­e­gy“ so we don’t actu­al­ly have to take respon­si­bil­i­ty for things we don’t like about us or our life. They are sim­ply excus­es to avoid putting in the work.

Remem­ber: Every­time you judge some­one (either way), you chose to take the easy road.

Different values

We often judge oth­ers, because they don’t share the same val­ues with us: „How can you love ani­mals, when you eat meat, you monster!“

To hide our „bad“ parts

When we are in our not-so-nice-mode, what we actu­al­ly do, is deny the parts in our­selves that we don’t like. The not-good, the bad and the ugly.
No one is allowed to see them! Of course that includes you.
Blam­ing some­one puts you in a safe posi­tion. You turn the atten­tion to the oth­er per­son.
Pas­sive aggres­sive­ness puts you in a posi­tion of pow­er. You „save“ your ener­gy and make them go crazy.

Oh look, a para­dox!
By shut­ting down the parts you label as „bad“ (I´m not say­ing they ARE), you are actu­al­ly turn­ing into this „not-nice-per­son“.

All those defense mech­a­nism are noth­ing but dis­trac­tions of your own bad sides that you haven’t ful­ly accept­ed yet.

As beau­ti­ful, kind and lov­ing humans are, they are also atten­tion-seek­ing-ego-dri­ven beings.

Decide who you wan­na be and catch your­self when you are not.



But remem­ber, peo­ple who have their „heart on the right spot“, must have the oth­er spot as well. They sim­ply don’t spend much time in it (any­more).

The degree some­one is (tru­ly) nice to oth­ers, is the degree they are nice to them­selves.

And if you don´t fan­cy being nice to your­self, remember:

Not judg­ing is a gift we can give to others.

Andy Pud­di­combe

Well isn’t that nice….I can gift oth­ers now 100+ times a day!


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