Here’s How You Can Define “Being Nice” in Your Own Terms

As a nice person, I am often conflicted because sometimes I don’t enjoy being nice. Sometimes I act nice out of moral obligation or because I’m trying to be consistent with my perceived identity.

Do you view yourself as “nice”? Do others describe you as “nice”? Do you always enjoy being “nice”? If you are unsure how you are perceived by others, ask friends and family to describe you.

I’ve been told how nice I am all my life, by family, friends, coworkers, and even bosses. It was a huge part of my personal identity. When you have a perceived identity of who you are, you’ll unconsciously adjust your behaviors to reflect that identity. For me, that meant being nice and acting like a nice person, even it wasn’t what I wanted.

Here are some questions to help you identify if you have any conflicts with being nice:

  • Do you do nice things when you really don’t want to?
  • Do others take advantage of your niceness?
  • Have you experienced social pressure to be nice, especially as a woman?
  • Are you a pushover? Are you a people-pleaser?
  • Do you ever get upset, frustrated, or resentful when you are nice?
  • Do you sometimes feel like your niceness is not really you?
  • Is being nice at the top of your self-identity list?
  • Do you ever experience conflict between your nice identity and your other identities such as achiever, assertive, or leader?
  • Do you sometimes not feel proud of being nice?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then continue reading.

What does “being nice” mean to you?

One day someone asked me this question. It was very relevant to me since I have tried to act nice for most of my life despite experiencing several of the conflicts listed above.


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