Are you one of those people like me who wonder, why is it that nice people are always at the losing end?
Today, I realised that this is a faulty thinking that needs to change.
Let’s define nice.
What is being nice?
Well, to me, a nice person is a good person. We do what we perceive as acts of affection and love for the other person. This includes being there for them when they need us, being supportive, going out of our way to show them that we love and care for them, making meals for them, spending on them, giving surprises and basically any and everything to show them that we care 100%, no holds barred. Because I know that if someone do this for me, I’d be really touched and I’d appreciate it, a lot a lot. Give me all the good without the games, bring it on. Place my needs above your own because that’s what I do, I place all your needs above mine.
But is this true? Is this being nice? Is this what it means to be nice?
One thing I have come to learn this year is that perhaps when I was doing all the acts of love for my partner, I was not actually being nice because to me, being nice means giving without expecting anything in return. But! I might have been expecting something in return when I do all the ‘nice’ acts as partner to my ex-partners — their love, attention, affection, appreciation and validation. This was something that dawned on me while I was having a conversation with G last week. That I am unable to love unconditionally (a whole new post on this next time maybe).
This may be a bit far fetched but a common background for people being nice is that they are, more often than not, people who feel the need to do a lot to keep the person they love close to them, earn love points, and to receive validation from their partner that they are loved and needed. I can relate to this myself. I often feel that I am not good enough for my partner and I should ‘compensate’ for it by being extra nice. I feel that I want to feel loved, and I am sure any normal human beings want that too, and so of course, let me do things to make sure my partner feels it. And then I give, and give, and give.
Because, hey, do unto others what you want others to do unto you, right?
Maybe not entirely so.
Giving & Investing
When one party is the giver, he/she is also the investor in the r/s. When you cook a meal, buy a gift, spend time waiting for someone, travelling the distance for someone, say nice words of affirmation to someone, give attention to someone… all these are investments made. You invest time, money, energy into this relationship and this person. And what does this means?
This means that you have a vested interest.
Now, what happens at the receiving end?
He/she receives without investment. He or she is not investing like you are. And when there’s no investment, there’s no returns. And love cannot be purchased and merited in these ways. Think about those ‘all women love bad men’ and ‘why men love bitches and not doormat‘ logic. Why do they work? Simply because these ‘bad‘ people are good at getting their partner to do what they want them to do for them, i.e. getting their partner to invest.
So perhaps what would work better would be to allow the other party to invest into the relationship as well. Don’t be one-sidedly nice and go out of your way or bend over backwards to do everything for your partner. Allow your partner to have a chance to invest too. When they get to invest as well, and do things for you, make the effort for you, it helps them feel good too. And when both parties mutually invest into the relationship, it blossoms. It becomes mutually satisfying.
This is not along the negative lines of being selfish, or playing hard to get, but simply knowing boundaries and self-love.
And back to being… nice.
Now, what happens most of the time with nice people? We never learn when to stop being nice until the person don’t even give us a chance to. This means that even when our partner do not deserve it, when they are being complete douche bags, we still choose to shower them with good deeds and being nice. Wow. You see what’s happening?
We are positively reinforcing their shit behaviour when we really, really, really, shouldn’t.
So we can almost guarantee ourselves that we have officially granted our partner a lifetime access to be-shitty–and-be-rewarded-card. Damn.
We should really treasure our ‘niceness’ and reserve it for people who deserve them at the right moments.
This is unfortunately linked to how, naturally, we love things that are rare and limited. Think limited edition stuff. Think pre-order and out of stock stuff. Think stuff that stretch your budget. Don’t these things just appear more valuable? So of course, if this thing is something that you need to invest in, work for, and it is not easy to come by, obviously you are going to treasure it. So, make sure we behave to reflect so! This is, again, not about playing hard to get, but for the fact that we are all limited edition (only 1 in the whole damn word, in fact!) merchandise called creatures deserving of love and respect and not some mass-produced free-for-all items up for grab that need persuasion and begging for somebody to pick us off the shelf. And we should act like it. Our partners should register that, feel that, and know that. We should help them to see this, realise this, and not disillusion them to believe that we are the latter.
We need to stop cheapening our nice good deeds and actually make them count.
And that is something I need to learn.
I no longer want to be nice when somebody doesn’t deserve it. I no longer want to give my all to a partner who is not worth it. A partner who does not invest in me and the relationship. A partner who does not appreciate. And I do not want to sabotage my own happiness, my own self worth and my partner’s view of me because of my selfish need and want to be nice.
Giving is still a great joy to me. It brings me so much, so much joy when I know that I am giving to my partner and that is not going to change. Nothing brings me more joy than working to build a meaningful relationship with someone who invests together with me to forge a bond that lasts and withstand the storms in life. I am not afraid of hardwork and hardship. And this, will never change. I love love and will never stop loving love.
Just that for now, I want nice people to finish first.
I want me to finish first.
By being nice to myself.
And I shall.