Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Nice is not always Nice
This is a secret to success, that I am just now learning. I've tried all my life to be a "nice" person. Only a few months into this year, I found that something wasn't working for me. Well, a lot of somethings. Not only was I having a mental breakdown of sorts, a lot of things felt out of whack.
I longed to work on my career again, but also longed to keep giving my kids the benefits of having a stay at home parent. I wanted to have time for myself, but also felt pressured to involve my kids in more. And finally, I liked using social media for social connection since I don't get out much or know very many people where I live. Once I was on the social media (Facebook for example) I felt the need to leave nice comments for others, keep track of what they were doing, and generally keep up to date with their lives.
I wanted to be "nice."
It wasn't until just recently I realized how much of my time and feelings I was giving away in pursuit of this "niceness" that wasn't really reaping any benefits for anyone. There was a big "scandal" amongst a group of my high school friends about religion and gay rights. I tried to leave respectful comments, show them that I cared about their viewpoints, and again spend time on what I thought was being "nice." In the end, I had many friendships end, tons of useless arguments, and plenty of hurt feelings of my own to cry about.
While trying to sort through where my "niceness" went wrong, I realized I was wasting my life. I had spent over a year trying to give support and positive wishes to a person who I had never known well in real life and who promptly let everyone on Facebook know that if we didn't vote the same as her she didn't want our friendship. Turns out I have plans to vote for someone different than her. I obeyed her wishes, and have been surprised how freeing its been. It wasn't long after the disconnection that I realized she had never really known what was going on in my life or expressed sympathies for my struggles, it was simply a one-way friendship. And while I am willing to give to someone who can't give back, I will only put forth that effort when it seems necessary or needed. And in this case, I realized it wasn't. And I was free.
I've had this experience in real life, with one-sided friendships and the ending of them was so extremely painful. For two reasons: 1. Realizing I'd been a poor judge of character, but mostly 2. I became lonely when faced with being alone for a time instead of with fake friends.
I hope I am learning these lessons well enough to counsel my kids when they come of an age where they feel so dependent on friends and peer approval. I hope I can show that we are more important than what a few people judge us as. And that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally as only a parent can, and His view of us is what's important.