People have often associated random acts of kindness and selflessness with hidden agendas and ill intent.
Why is it so hard for us to accept compliments, a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on? Why can’t we accept and appreciate people’s authentic self?
How It All Started?
When I was in college, I pursued a girl whom I thought to be an angel. She was smart, petit with the cutest smile and eyes that could tear down the tallest wall. We shared many mutual friends and similar classes. Being in the same circle caused us to spend the hours between classes together either discussing assignments or talking endlessly about nothing. The evening night hours continued with long phone conversations again about nothing and everything.
As time went by, we grew extremely close and I mustered up the courage to ask her to be officially a couple. Anyone observing us, myself included, thought it would be just a formality. I was blown away when her response was “ no you’re too nice, let’s just be friends”.
“WTF does that mean?” You could only imagine my surprise and disappointment in hearing that I was not good enough because I was too nice.
Being from a family consisting of mostly women, I learned from very young that women (and people) should be treated with the utmost respect. Gentle greetings, door openings and acts of compassion all made a difference and were all second nature to me. I thought that everyone felt this way.
I pondered for years whether I should have stopped being “me”. Should I have pocketed my true self and become a chauvinist? But then asked myself “would this have changed the outcome of our relationship?”. There were so many questions I had and nobody to answer them. Would changing who I am satisfy my need to be with this individual? Was I willing to relinquish control of my feelings to fulfill the desire of being with someone who I thought I had a lot in common with?
Clarity showed up in the form of a silver lining 8 years later. I ran into some friends who informed me that she ended up in a very toxic relationship in which she married a guy with many kids out of wedlock by various women. What made this harder to hear was that she was left supporting his kids plus the 2 they had together.
It became apparent to me that this girl’s struggle was not my own. The fact that I was “too nice” was an issue because she felt less in control. She needed someone who made her feel like she was saving them…someone not secure in who they were. There would never have been equality in our relationship. She did not want a mutually symbiotic relationship (nor did he). Sadly, this guy was a womanizer and the biggest chauvinist in our small community. He introduced her to a world of hurt and issues that kept her trapped in an unhealthy relationship.
Today, I realize that I dodged a bullet. Being secure and content with who I was has led me to make sound decisions in my personal and professional relationships. The “Price” I have paid for being “Too Nice” has proven to have its perks. I have a great family and an amazing support group/friends. Truth is being yourself is the only true way to live. If someone is not happy with who you are, perhaps that someone is not who belongs in your life.