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!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.