I am giving up on being nice. It may sound weird to hear but I have decided that I am giving up on being nice. I’m going to explain why I’m doing this but this I want to state that I realize some of you reading this may not think I was nice to begin with and that’s OK, assess me all you want.
Expectations – most people live their whole lives by them. It’s such an ingrained part of the fabric of our thought processes that we don’t even realize that we base our thoughts, decisions, and actions off of what is expected of us. Here are just some examples of who I am that carry expectation: father, husband, son, brother, friend, step-son, cousin, male, human. The problem with expectations, to me, is that they are almost exclusively from outside sources. Not only do other people expect certain things from me, but I expect certain things from myself but the catch is I was taught those things from outside sources. It was not my innate moral fabric that brought to this idea of how I should act as a father, but my socialization that taught me how I should act. And here’s my main concern about expectations from either outside or inside yourself: are we really being who we are as people if we conform to what’s expected of us? Am I being the most me I can be if I act, think, or feel in a way that’s expected of me, because it’s expected of me? Well the only real way to know is to stop letting expectations rule over your mind. In fact the opposite, I feel I must find a way to train myself to think without expectations and I’m not sure that A) it’s even possible or B) I’ll like who I am if I succeed.
One of the biggest reasons I want to rid myself of expectations is because I don’t want to place expectations on my kids. I want them to grow up to be who they are or to be whoever they want to be if they want to change themselves. I didn’t always think that way though and switch was recent. Here’s a ‘quick’ story: I was at work one morning working with a woman I have a ton of respect for, her name is Autumn. Autumn has a couple kids of her own and we were talking about raising our kids and our philosophies on one topic or another. I feel like I had a lot in common with her to begin with, so talking about raising our kids felt more like we were just echoing each other’s already established parenting style. Anyways, the topic came to who our parents wanted us to be while we were growing up and how we don’t necessarily hold the same views for our own kids. I summarized my thoughts like this: “I don’t care what my kids are or want to be. They can do or be anything, as long as they’re just good people”. That’s a thought I had several times previous to that conversation and then Autumn dropped a bomb on me. I’m fuzzy on the exact words but she said something along the lines of “That’s an expectation. Not all people are good naturally”.
So it’s been a couple months and I think I’m finally realizing the gravity behind the truth of that statement. Some people are just not good people. Some go around lying and cheating other people and taking advantage of them and they like it. It’s taken me some time to think that through and realize one or all of my kids could grow up and be like that, and if that happens I’m not going to stop loving them, I’m not even going to be disappointed. If being that way makes them happy, then I’m going to be happy for them, even if it means the only time I get to see them will be with 3-inch bulletproof glass between us and armed guards close by. Because life isn’t about living up to someone else’s expectations and certainly not your parents’ expectations. If my dad currently saw every single thing I did in a given month, I guarantee he would say that’s not how he “hoped” or “wanted” or “expected” or (big one coming) “prayed” I would turn out. And I’m pretty sure my dad either reads this blog or someone tells him about the things I say, but I’m not hiding anything. My dad is a smart guy and I’m sure he realizes some important things about putting expectations on to people, namely that it’s pretty often people will do the opposite of what you expect of them. He’s also known me for 32 years almost and I’m sure he knows that doing something just because someone told you to do otherwise is right up my alley. And to be brutally honest, if I imagine myself in 30 years, I don’t know if I want my kids to be thinking the things that I’m thinking and saying right now. I just don’t imagine it would feel good, but at the same time at least they would be thinking. Lots of people just do what’s expected of them because that’s what they were trained to do, they don’t seek out making life a better place to be.
So what does being nice have to do with any of this? Well, I feel like all the expectations put on me so far in life have, at least in part, included the base ideal that I should be a nice person. There’s a lot of manifestations of what a ‘nice person’ is and I can say for sure that I’ve felt a lot of them, and I feel like I’ve lived a lot of my life that way. I recently read something about Libras, which I am, and it said that Libras tend to focus on other people’s problems, giving a lot of themselves, so they don’t have to look at or deal with their own problems. I never really thought about that before, and I’m not saying I’m some great person, I know I have a bunch of flaws. I know that some people would laugh at the fact that anyone else would consider me to be ‘nice’. But regardless of that I feel like I’ve let these pressures take control of decision-making process too much and I’m done. I’m not going to be nice anymore. I am going to make an effort to stop making an effort. To just be me, whether me is nice or not.
So I feel like there are pros and cons to being that way. I’m 100% positive that I will still do nice things, and the best thing about that is that when I do those things, it’ll be genuine. It’s not like I haven’t been genuine before but now I can abandon any ulterior motives, or or least leave the accusations of ulterior motives behind me. My friend group has a phrase we say when someone wants to do something on their own or when a single person has a particular point of view no one else agrees with and it’s mostly said being facetious but there’s truth behind it each time it’s said and there’s a lot of truth applying it to someone’s life in general. It’s ‘you do you, booboo’. I feel that this little revelation that I’ve had, this ignoring expectations frame of thinking, this ceasing to be nice, is a great way for me to do me… booboo.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.