It’s been a while since I’ve written here, for whatever reason. It’s probably not because I didn’t have much to say, but just that I didn’t say it.
Life is good and it continues on. I’m having a great time. I’m listening to another book, a very insightful book, recommended to me by my friend, James. The name of the book is: No More Mr. Nice Guy. No, it’s not subtitled: How to be a jerk in 10 easy lessons.
It’s a serious book about the issue of being a ‘nice guy’. The guy who basically bends to everyone else’s will thinking that it will make him liked, loved, and appreciated, none of which it does.
Quite honestly, it is a fascinating read. In parts, I see myself partially, in other parts, the mirror is held squarely to my face, and yet other parts, I am slapped silly by the truth presented. Dr. Glover goes into detail about what a ‘nice guy’ is and how they got that way and what to do about it to break out of that syndrome.
So, what exactly is a nice guy. I am a recovering nice guy, so I can speak to it at length. A nice guy is one who has a girlfriend, or perhaps a wife, he is totally focused on her, on her happiness. He makes her the center of his world. He has no outside friends, no interests, nothing. He caves in to her every desire. She is the center of his universe. However, there is a unspoken agreement; she must become his everything and make him feel like he is worthwhile, lovable, and deserving. This, of course, is unfair to her. It is not her responsibility to do this. It is his responsibility to create his own happiness by doing what he likes, setting boundaries (learning to say ‘no’).
The interesting thing about this is that most women don’t want a guy that they can run over. They don’t want a ‘nice guy’. They wanted an integrated man. A man who is balanced. A man who can say no to them, even if it makes them upset. They respect it. Nice guys get very little respect from anyone.
So, how does this come about? In my case, it came from having a demeaning, angry father, and a mother who didn’t know what to do about it other than to be sad and crawl into a bottle. Looking back, this affected me in a couple of ways: With my father, I learned to not rock the boat. So, these days I have a lots of difficulty with disagreement and will try to steer clear of it, but I’m learning to handle it, to discuss and not run. It’s better this way. I have learned that I have needs, wants, and desires and that they are just as important as anyone else’s. Period.
As for my mother, being a little, I want what all little boys want, for their mother to be happy. So, seeing her sadness, I did everything that I could to make her happy, to make her smile. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t my job, but hers to make herself happy. I took on that burden because my father was not, in my eyes, doing it. This got me into the role of people pleasing. Again, when one becomes a people pleaser, usually there is one left who is unpleased. You. Soon, you start to look outside of yourself for people to give you validation, when it doesn’t come, you just try harder. I started looking for validation from women because it’s something that I never had. My mother was ‘unavailable’.
All of this to say that in the past two years I’ve learned how to be there for me, to please myself, to be nice to myself. In the past year I’ve started saying “no” to what I don’t want to do. It’s more difficult than it sounds after so many years of doing the opposite. I get a massage every month. I go to the doctor when I need to. I buy new camera equipment just because I want it – I used to have terrible buyer’s remorse, but not anymore. I eat healthier food. I still eat some junk food, but I don’t feel badly about it. I exercise at least 5 days per week. I read books that spark some insight. I take an occasional workshop. All of these are being nice to myself and it was very much needed.
I’m still learning how to be nice to myself, and it feels good. What also feels really good is that I have a woman next to me who doesn’t find that odd. She supports me in doing my own thing! And, what’s even better, is that she is beside me because it’s what I want, not what I ‘need’.