The problem with being nice

I had a rather thought-provoking conversation with my boyfriend yesterday. It started out as a casual conversation as we waited for a good seat at the coffee shop that very quickly escalated into a re-evaluation of my people skills and overall character.

To brief you, my boyfriend is not exactly the good guy type. He’s nice and treats me well, but he also has the tendency to be officious and unminding of what other people feel (sometimes, me included). I’m his polar opposite in the sense that I’m too much of the good girl who tries to accommodate people. I’m never assertive, and oftentimes that has worked to my disadvantage. This, my boyfriend is fully aware of.

I don’t remember how our conversation veered towards that direction, but I remember him telling me that sometimes I have be an asshole to get ahead in life and to at least protect my own interests. He reminded me that it’s necessary to be aggressive in the pursuit of one’s ambition, especially as society becomes more cutthroat than ever.

I’m not sure if he said those things out of the sincerest desire to keep me from constantly being stepped on or teach me how to fight my way into the world. Perhaps he said to justify his being overly-domineering at times. Nonetheless, his intentions are beside the point for now.

Naturally, I told him I could never be that person. Although I didn’t verbalize my reasons at the time, I’m telling you now that being kind always trumps conflict in any shape and form. I’ve always believed that it’s always better to be kind no matter how shitty the world has been treating you because at least amidst all the negativity you’re bringing out a bit of sunshine into the world.

But sometimes, that sort of inner pep talk is just not enough.

It’s pretentious to say I haven’t entertained the idea of just being a shitty person since it would justify all the shitty things thrown my way anyway. You know, as opposed to being nice all the time and still have shitty things thrown my way? Yeah, there’s that.

I’m pretty sure there was one point in my life when I flipped the table over and said “fuck it.” But you know what, even with that kind of mindset, I don’t think I was ever truly contented or happy or relatively improved in terms of social status and way of life. I was still the same flawed human being with lots of emotional baggage, but worse because I was the hometown asshole people were somehow justified to hate.  Sure, there were probably perks and I got ahead of other people maybe, but it didn’t compensate for how awful I felt about myself.

Being compassionate is a choice, and it is something that must be preferred above all else. Society is already in bad shape as it is.

I have no cure for my being too agreeable. I know it’s something that I need to work on especially in a world that requires me to assert myself and my thoughts in order to make my mark. Maybe I’ll just go through it in the best way I know how: by always being kind and doing all things with love.

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