Why Being ‘Nice’ Can Be Poisonous To Your Soul


“Share your weaknesses. Share your hard moments. Share your real side. It’ll either scare away every fake person in your life or it will inspire them to finally let go of that mirage called “perfection,” which will open the doors to the most important relationships you’ll ever be a part of.” 
~ Dan Pearce

Lovelies, today I want to share my perspective on ‘making nice’ with you.

Kindness is a loving balm, understanding is a mental tonic, compassion grows our hearts, love is food for the soul, but niceness? Far too often niceness is a poison administered to ourselves by our own hand.

There is a trend (and I recognise it because I once was in that same place!) where people beginning to become spiritually aware try to live from a place of unconditional love. That’s a beautiful thing, but too often what gets practised is not actually unconditional love but ‘niceness’.

Many people consider niceness to be a virtue; a sign of living from heart, and acting from love. I’m not referring to kindness, or good manners, or amiability. I’m talking here about pleasing others, not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings, and being agreeable and amenable, even if it comes at a high cost to yourself.

Speaking our truth honours us, and it teaches us honest and direct communication that honours and respects others. Can we come from a place of unconditional love and still speak our truth? Absolutely! Because the premise of unconditional love is that we also love ourselves.

Authenticity requires us to live with honesty – not with silencing ourselves or suppressing our true thoughts and emotions.

Niceness is not about unconditional love – it is about giving up honesty in order to avoid disapproval, confrontation, rejection, ridicule or embarrassment. It elevates the happiness and well-being of others above your own. It is based on falseness, and by its nature, niceness prevents honesty and authenticity. When you come from niceness you teach others to devalue you, and disrespect you. You do not set clear boundaries.

Niceness does not come from a heart-centred life. It grows out of fear and a lack of self-worth. It is a behaviour that goes counter to our intuitive wisdom, and to those gut-based mechanisms that keep us safe.  We tell people what they want to hear, we do and say things to keep others happy or to keep the peace. We act in a way that pleases others but that robs us of a little (or a big bit!) of ourselves.

There is always a way to tell the difference between being nice and being kind.  Kindness comes from a place of being centred, and it empowers us.  It strengthens us, as it strengthens others. We can act with generosity or compassion and there is no cost to us, or it is a cost we willingly bear.  We give without expecting anything in return, for the sake of uplifting others.

Niceness always leaves you with an aftertaste – you know you have’t spoken truthfully; you feel that twang of inauthentic energy, that twinge of discomfort, or you even get that sense of being taken for granted or taken for a ride.

Niceness diminishes us, even when it strengthens others. We bite our tongue in order to say the flattering thing, we do the act with a little flame of resentment in our heart. And sometimes it starts out as kindness – but our kindness becomes expected, or disrepected – we are taken advantage of but we are unable to speak up about that and voice our own feelings. So we act nice instead.

When we choose niceness it poisons us.  It leads to depression, anxiety, shame, emotional distress, guilt, anger and despair.   Life-long patterns of niceness leave us open to exploitation and invite difficult, damaging and dangerous relationships into our lives.

We end up doing things we don’t want to do – we can become an entirely different person to who we are on the inside. We can lose ourselves so completely that we have no idea any more what makes us happy, what our preferences are, what we want in life…

Taken to extremes, through living a life of niceness we can cease to exist. Instead, we become a support role in someone else’s life. We become Cinderella, at home scrubbing the floors while her stepsisters are out having fun!

Are you too nice?

Maybe it’s time to start honouring your own truth. Love starts with the self, and healthy self-esteem can only be built by standing up for yourself, giving your feelings a voice, and attending to your own needs.  You can do that and still be polite.  You can do that and still be kind.  You can do that and still be likeable, lovable and accepted.  Don’t keep drinking that from that poisonous niceness bottle!

And if your acts of self-respect and kindness aren’t taken well by others? Maybe it’s time to  get some space, maybe it’s time to stop giving, maybe it’s time to move on… If you have to be ‘nice’ in order for your life to work, the price will always be too high.

You might be surprised. As you begin voicing your honest thoughts, you give others permission to do the same. Being authentic can create great change. It invites miracles. And this week supports that kind of energy, so be brave and embrace your truth then live from that space and watch the magic begin to happen in your life. Choose love. Choose kindness. And above all, be true to yourself. It’s worth it! 

Much love, Nicole ❤ xx

Image from www.simplereminders.com

The Non-Believer and the Desperate Hour

“Desperation can make a person do surprising things.”
~ Veronica Roth

 

*This post is a continuation from yesterday’s The Non-Believer and The Amazing Offer

Sunday was a rare crisis-of-faith day for me. I’d slept poorly for days, I was churned with anxiety over a job offer from my old life, and I was wondering if what I did really made a difference in the world. Even more than that, at nearing fifty years of age, I still struggle at times with having a parent who does not accept what I do as a psychic and is not proud of me, but who would be if I went back to the corporate world. (I know… but my job is always to be truthful with you, so there it is. It creates a sucking sadness in me that dulls and roars in turn, and I never quite know what might trigger it. The little girl in me still aches to please.)

Sunday is an unplugged day for me. I have a session with my Planner, I spend time with my husband, and I don’t work at all. I don’t even look at my computer, because that way I can ignore the constant stream of messages and emails, of which a handful are always urgent. If I read one, I’d have to respond. If someone needs me I can’t not.

On Sunday afternoon my phone began to ding as a series of messages came through. I glanced at the screen and saw that they were facebook messages so I ignored them. But they kept coming. I realised that someone was urgently trying to get hold of me. And something in me made me break my Sunday rule. I opened the first message, and then read them all one by one. They were all from the same person.

They were all from the business coach who’d slammed me for being a psychic earlier this year, and who’d then trash-talked me to my friend. The same coach who’d urged me to give up my psychic work and go back to the ‘respectability’ of the corporate sector.

Contact me, his message said.

After six messages, it changed to Contact me urgently.

Image from www.dr.dk

Image from www.dr.dk

I knew it wouldn’t be about him reconsidering me as a potential client for his mentoring program. I knew deep in my bones that he had a problem. I could feel the desperation in those three terse words.

I texted him back. How can I help?

A series of photos followed of his tiny daughter. The coach was travelling with his wife and young family, doing public speaking engagements and such. They were away from home and his little girl was ill. Nothing specific. A fever. She was quiet. She didn’t have much appetite. She’d been listless. They’d taken her to a local hospital, and the staff there diagnosed her with a cold. They’d given her something for the fever and sent her home again.

For him to even contact me, given how rude he’d been and how clearly he’d told me he was a non-believer in all things psychic, I knew he was out of options. I was his last resort.

I skyped him.

The coach was awkward, and wouldn’t quite look me in the eye. Did I think there was something wrong with his daughter? Because both he and his wife thought there was something not quite right.

I tuned in.

What I got disturbed me. I could feel infection through her tiny body, building up into a crisis. I knew it had already affected her kidneys. I knew she was not far from going critical.

Put her in the car, I said. Take her back to the hospital, the closest one. Go now. It’s something serious. She needs urgent medical attention. It’s an infection, I said.

He hung up on me.

Forty minutes later he called again. They were at a new hospital and the staff wanted to send them home. His daughter’s fever wasn’t too high. They thought she had a cold or a little viral infection.

Did you tell them she’s had medication for the fever, I said. That’s what’s masking the true situation.

Over the next hour we talked a few more times as the doctors told the man to take his daughter home, after which he’d check in with me and then at my insistence tell them he wanted her to stay. But I could feel his resolve wavering. He was tired. He thought he was over-reacting.

In my mind’s eye I saw it. Something the little girl hadn’t had half an hour before. Show them the rash, I said.

What rash? She doesn’t have a rash! He was belligerent now. Angry with me. Angry that he’d contacted me.

Lift up her shirt, I said. She has tiny purple dots on her tummy and back. Hurry!

I didn’t hear from the coach again for hours. Not til nearly 1am on Monday morning, my time. During that time I’d held his family and his daughter in my prayers, sent her healing energy, and meditated on her soul and on her life. I felt how touch-and-go it was.

Image from www.verywell.com

Image from www.verywell.com

This is what the coach told me. They admitted his sick little girl straight away, diagnosing her with meningococcal disease. They gave her life-saving drugs, but she was already in a critical condition when that happened. And it progressed quickly from there. She had now sustained kidney and liver damage, and it looked like she might lose the fingertips of two fingers, and the top joint of a toe on one foot. It might get worse, he said. He was sobbing.

She’s already turned the corner, I told him. You saved her life. I know it looks bad, but she’s going to be okay. I talked to him for over an hour, just supporting him and being there for him. By the time I got off the call I was wrung out.

I couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night. Instead I meditated and sent them love and healing, and prayed for them. I was grateful that the coach had honoured his own intuition in knowing that there was something wrong, and then in reaching out to me of all people.

 

On Monday morning I rang the guy trying to recruit me and told him a flatout no. Then Ben took me and Cafe Dog out for breakfast. I told him what had happened with the coach and his baby girl, and what the outcome was.

See, Ben said to me. What you do does matter.

And I knew Ben was right.

The corporate man will find someone else to head up his ridiculous-deadline project now that I’ve declined his offer. Some other person will flog the team senseless and create the things that I won’t do, no matter how well paid I would have been. It doesn’t matter if people like the coach lambast me and put me down. Even if later, they turn to me. There will always be people, within my family and within my community, who judge me for what I do and find me wanting. Who don’t understand me. Or who fear being judged themselves, by virtue of association with me .

I can only be who I am. Who would I be, and what message would I send if I tried to turn my back on this thing that I am? How could I ever support you, and encourage you to claim your own intuitive and psychic ability?

We were made this way for a reason.

It’s hard, sometimes, this road that I walk. But it’s worth it. Just like it will be for you too. Each of us have our own unique natures and gifts. We all matter, and we all have something to offer. All of us must strive to be true to who we came here to be. Or else, why live at all?

The Non-Believer and The Amazing Offer

“I was a terrible believer in things,but I was also a terrible nonbeliever in things. I was as searching as I was skeptical. I didn’t know where to put my faith,or if there was such a place,or even what the word faith meant, in all of it’s complexity. Everything seemed to be possibly potent and possibly fake.” 

~ Cheryl Strayed

 

 

This is a long story, so I’m going to tell it over two days. It might seem like a couple of unrelated stories to start off with, but I promise you it comes together at the end.

So, let’s start at the beginning…

Earlier this year a friend put me in touch with a business coach – a very successful man who had guided her and many others to be able to grow their businesses and themselves. All of these people had existing very successful businesses, and this coach had helped them to move to the next level.

It seemed like a good fit. I was ready and looking, and he was spoken of very highly. He lives overseas so I booked in a skype session with him, feeling very excited.

And then it all went pear-shaped.

What did I do, he asked me.

I’m a psychic, I said, and a metaphysical teacher. I help people to connect to their own intuition and psychic abilities. I blog too.

And you make money from that? His voice was skeptical. In fact, there was more than a hint of something else there. That thing was ridicule.

Yes, I said, I’m doing okay. My initial enthusiasm was fast waning. Bewilderingly, I began to wilt beneath his scrutiny.

Really? But you must have been something else…. before… this… he added.

I explained that I had once owned a very successful training and communications business, with many government and large corporate clients.

Good. That’s where the money is, the coach said, visibly relieved. That’s what you need to go back to. I’m happy to coach you around that. We should be able to make something fly really fast for you there. And I’m thinking now… imagine how you’d go creating online courses for people? Or teaching that? Brilliant!

But that wasn’t what I wanted to do.

When I told him that, he announced that he couldn’t work with me.

I’m a total non-believer in that psychic nonsense, he said. And further, he thought taking me on as a client would reflect badly upon his own ‘brand’.

I got off that call feeling bad about myself and my place in the world.

To make it worse, I heard back from my friend that this coach had trash-talked me to her, saying that I’d ‘wasted my education and abilities to peddle New Age crap to soccer moms and trailer trash’.

Ouch. Talk about confronting! Because of that call I questioned every choice I’d made. I questioned whether my life and what I was doing with it was worthwhile, whether I was actually doing something meaningful, or whether I was deluding myself.

The successful business coach reduced me to feeling like a loser. I seriously wondered if I should have gone back to the corporate world after all.  It rocked me more than I’d expected and I’ll be honest in sharing that it took a few weeks to recalibrate my internal equilibrium.

Fast forward to last week.

A gentleman I worked with in the corporate world ten years ago contacted me and offered me (and my shelved company) a three-year contract if I would go back and head up a task force for a project I’d once been instrumental in getting off the ground. It was a seven-figure gig. Per year.

Per year. That’s so much money.

But it was a July 1 start, so no holiday for me (I’m meant to be flying out on May 29 for 6 weeks). I’d be working with people I don’t like. And I’d need to be based in Canberra for three years. They’d own me, essentially. For which I would be very well paid. I’d have to close my psychic business down. Cancel my workshops and retreats. Walk away from everything I’d been building. I was actually considering it, and then the guy said something that made all my alarm bells sound.

You’re the only person I know, Nicole, who specialises in impossible deadlines.

There it was. I’d be working til I dropped. Just like I had the last time we’d worked together. The answer had to be no.

Still, I couldn’t say it. I told this man I needed to discuss his offer with my husband and would get back to him next Monday, after which I felt sick and couldn’t sleep for days for wondering what I should do. Although my husband was sure I needed to say no. And in my heart I knew without a doubt that I needed to turn it down.

But the money…

So much money.

Perhaps worse than that was the fact that I knew if I took this role I would finally have the approval of certain family members, and of some friends who have turned their back on me, given what I now do with my life.

Ben and I talked about it endlessly. Or rather, I kept trying to talk about it and come at it from different angles while Ben listened patiently. Wisely, Ben reminded me of what had happened last time I’d worked on this kind of project. How I’d spend weeks getting four hours sleep a night to make things happen. How I’d eaten stress breakfast, lunch and dinner. Finally I couldn’t come up with one single legitimate reason to accept the contract. I love my life here at the farm. I love my work. I’m really happy, and I’m finally on the path to health. I’d be throwing all of that away, just for money and approval.

I can’t go back to that jungle, I said to Ben. But you know what? I’m just going to throw it out to the Universe anyway. Because I still feel a bit doubty. I’m going to trust that somehow I’ll get confirmation one way or the other, from outside myself.

The very next morning (Friday), there it was in my facebook inbox. A message from one of my students.

Hi Nicole, you featured in my very big dream last night. I am not sure if this message was for you. You said to me you were here to help life and “life is love”. That is why you can’t go to the jungle! Just thought I would share. Much love T xx

They were almost the exact words I’d spoken to Ben.

I’d love to tell you that I was able to let it go after that. But no. On Saturday night I felt quite teary and depressed. I was feeling as if my blog and my psychic work and my teaching didn’t matter. I wasn’t making enough of a difference. Maybe I had it all wrong.

Even on Sunday I couldn’t shake the feeling. I fumbled through my day off in a miserable space of self-doubt.

And then late in the day I received a series of messages on my phone that arrived via facebook. Something made me look at them. What happened next brought me full circle.

But I’ll tell you about that tomorrow…

2015 – Guidance for the Year Ahead

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“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”
~ William Jennings Bryan

“Ah, Nothing is too late, till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Happy New Year and welcome to the energies of 2015!  I have no doubt you’ve already begun to feel the pull of this new year. Her bright possibility and call to action are loud and clear. She is intoxicating in her sway.

Let me tell you more about her!

I have one tarot deck that I use only for the first day of the new year.  For over 20 years I have worked with this deck as a touchstone to set the themes of my year ahead so that I might live with greater awareness and understanding.  I don’t use the cards as a predictive tool – rather I use them for reflection, and to seek guidance about qualities, actions and perspectives that might benefit me over the next twelve months.

Just after midnight I asked for one card for you – to give YOU guidance over the year ahead.  This is my personal interpretation of that card for you.

Take what resonates as truth for you, and discard the rest.

THE MOON – Insights for 2015

Image from pixgood.com

Image from pixgood.com

“The Moon’s gates reveal the unlimited splendour of the Soul.” ~ Anon

 

2014 was a consolidation year – a year to anchor dreams, to commit to change, to end things and to lock things down. It was a year for facing up to our reality, including problems and long-standing issues. It was a year that supported the logical and rational.

In 2014 we began to see that it would no longer be enough to live to please others, or to make our life a quest for external acknowledgement and approval. 2014 required us to dig deeper, and to begin to understand who we truly are, and what calls us. 2014 made us re-evaluate, to long for and begin to work towards wholeness. It also helped us to find and appreciate our inner strength and tenacity.

 

2015 is a year of expansion. A year of possibility and opportunity. There is so much that this new year can gift us. But it demands something in return.

Authenticity. A need to drop the mask and present ourselves honestly – with vulnerability, and with all of our glorious imperfection.

To make the most of 2015 we really do need to start by being true to ourselves. And then we must make choices based on alignment with our authenticity.

If we do that, magic will begin to happen!

2015 is remarkable for two main reasons:

1. We are being given the opportunity to finally let go of significant limiting behaviours, patterns, relationships and beliefs that have been holding us back, and that no longer serve us. To do this we must first sit in awareness, and catch ourselves in that space of limitation. Then in the moment, make a different choice. Think differently, speak differently, behave differently. Don’t live on automatic pilot. Take responsibility for our choices and actions. There is so much power available to us when we live our life from the present moment with clarity, focus and awareness.

walkaway

2. 2015 is also about advancement. The Universe is encouraging us to go after what we want, and what supports our life purpose and Highest Good. It’s a year for dreaming big, but it is also a year of ACTION. We’ll do best with a plan, some definable goals, and a mindset of growth and expansion. Think learning, possibility, support and vision. Take advantage of opportunity, and actively work to bring about change and growth. We must make an effort in order to see an outcome.

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In 2015, to really grow and shine, we MUST let go of making decisions based upon duty and the need to gain approval and acceptance from others. We must begin to live for ourselves, being true to our own needs and desires. Not from a place of selfishness. No. From a place of honesty. From a place of valuing ourselves as much as we value others.

Being honest is important in 2015, and that may be a difficult road if we’ve been lying to ourselves about what we want, what makes us happy, or if we’ve created a life around putting other people and their happiness ahead of our own. We’ll need to own our truth, our limitations, our obstacles. We’ll need to own where we are right now in order to have any hope of scaling the heights of our own possibility.

At the same time, we’ll feel that we just CAN’T go on living the way we have been. We’ll be compelled to hold ourselves to a higher standard. We’ll crave that opportunity to liberate ourselves and to be more fully whole.

There is a great opportunity this year for us to remake ourselves, redefine ourselves and make considerable progress in the areas that matter most to us.

We will find that it no longer works for us to be in jobs, relationships and situations that compromise our integrity and prevent us from living authentically in the world. We will also find that we can’t keep treating ourselves meanly and with a lack of respect or care.

Our hearts and heads are finally learning to work together. We’ll be able to hear that clarion call of our intuition, and the music in our heart – and it will drown out those old stories of duties, limitations and perceived lack.

This coming year also provides the energy for drawing to ourselves lovers, life partners, friends, colleagues and business associates who WILL uplift and support us in our quest for greater authenticity and truth in our lives and our loves.

2015 is a powerful year that will be noticeably and meaningfully shaped by our choices, decisions and actions. For people who have done the self work, and who are prepared to continue to ask more of themselves, 2015 will be the year where it all changes…

For the better, of course. 🙂

I’m wishing you your best year yet! A year rich with meaning, and filled with love, support, kindness, well-being and flow.

Bless ♥ Nicole xx

Shine-Your-Own-Light

5 Helpful Questions for Your Monday

“At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.” 
Leo Babauta

 

Here are five questions to guide you this week. Ponder them, and put the answers into action in your life. Much love, Nicole xx

1. What do I most need to get done this week?

Image from Detavio

Image from Detavio

 

2. What is one simple daily act I can perform to nourish myself all week?

 

3. Whose company will most benefit me this week?

I know, I'm a geek, but it's like... YODA! Image from Comicvine

I know, I’m a geek, but it’s like… YODA!   Image from Comicvine

 

4. What small step can I take towards my dream this week?

Image from Rutgers

Image from Rutgers

 

5. What meaningful action can I take this week to support or uplift another?

Why We Need YOUR Voice

Image from Elizabeth McKenzie at Your Highest Self

Image from Elizabeth McKenzie at Your Highest Self

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” ~ Neil Gaiman

 

Thanks to you, and to some wise and loving friends, I’ve been pushed to a major realization in the past few days. Hilariously (oh, I know you’ll relate to this) it was something other people (friends, husband, family, clients, students, dogs, Aunties, Guides, practically the entire Universe) had been telling me for years. I just hadn’t been ready to hear it yet.

That’s the thing I love about lightbulb moments. I’m always telling my clients this – and it holds true for me, and for you, and for everyone we know too.

You have to get that realization for yourself. YOU need to have that lightbulb come on in your head, to pay attention to that dawning realization and own it with every cell of your body – so that it becomes your truth, rather than simply a concept that you carry around without relating to or truly understanding.

Know what I mean?

Suddenly something inside you lights up and you think, ‘Oh, I get it now!’. And you really do.

This gorgeous image from Prasad Ram

This gorgeous image from Prasad Ram

Anyway, my realization was about writing, but what I’m going to share counts for all of us. Because it’s true.

We need your voice in the world. 

For me, my ‘voice’ is about writing. I love to write, even more than that I’m driven to write, and have been since I was a little girl. But what to write?

I’ve tried lots of things on for size. Corporate writing, ghost writing, poetry (less said about that the better) and novels.

As I’ve agonized over most of that fiction or professional writing for others, I’ve churned out millions (yep, millions) of non-fiction words about my life, my experiences, spirituality, recipes and my psychic experiences. But I never called that writing, and I never considered that it counted.

So now, as I’m sitting on the cusp of a true second chance at life, I feel the gravity of my choices. I don’t want to blow this. What do I choose to pour my still limited energy and boundless passion into?

The choice is clear.

And a little (God, if I’m honest it’s pants-wetting material) terrifying.

I need to write from my heart about the things that only I can tell. You see only I can write about my experiences in the Kimberley, only I can write about what it’s like to wake up on your thirtieth birthday and discover that you can see auras, only I can write about fairies and pirates and the mystical and epic journey of two children who must become who they are, at great odds, rather than walking the known path.

Only me.

And yesterday I made a start. I even took a photo, for posterity. That’s my friend, busily editing her current manuscript, and my computer, seat vacant for a moment while I make us another cup of tea to wash down all those lollies we’d been eating. 🙂

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So, I’m starting with my Kimberley Story.

But how about you?

There are things that YOU do, things that you know, things that only you can put out into the world in your particular way.

There will always be people who’ll dive right in and add more to the pile of what’s already being done. That’s okay too, because that’s how we learn.

The stories inside you, the dress patterns, the garden designs, the music, the ideas, the healing, the science, the teaching, the innovations, the dreams and desires – they are yours alone and you have them for a reason. You are the mother or father to these energies, and it is up to you to birth them into the world, or they can never exist and be shared with others.

And our world will be the poorer for that.

So today I’m asking you to join me. The world’s a crazy place right now. We urgently need more of the good stuff, the authentic stuff. All of us have the ability to add a tiny chink of our special magic to this life; and the thing we bring into being will help others in some way, sparking off more authenticity and magic, because that’s how this whole crazy interconnected Universe works.

You don’t even need to know what your ‘thing’ is just yet. All you ever need to do is have that open questing heart that asks the question and then waits for the answer.

The answer always comes.

And usually those around you have been shouting it for years before you finally blink your sleepy eyes open and see that beautiful truth for yourself.

What is the story that only you can tell?

Maybe it’s time…

Lemony_Wait-NOURL

It’s okay to feel Sad sometimes!

Sad Eyes - Image from www.bbs.chinadaily.com.cn

Sad Eyes – Image from www.bbs.chinadaily.com.cn

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”

~ Carl Jung

Yesterday someone well known in American ‘New Age’ circles told me something that I found quite preposterous.  In fact, I found it a little dangerous…

They said that if I was ‘truly enlightened’ and ‘living from my heart’ I would be 100% positive and happy all the time. From that place of 100% positivity I would heal, but if I still had even one ‘negative’ thought, felt one shred of sadness, or doubt, or depression, then I was destined to remain sick, miserable and ‘enmeshed in my pain body’.

Really? I’m sorry, that just doesn’t wash with me.  With my thinking I am 100% responsible for my life and everything in it, and how it intersects with everything and everyone else? No room for fate? No room for God? No room for nature or circumstance? No room for life and humanity’s magnificent complexity and diversity? According to this person, if I am suffering or have a problem, it’s simple.  My situation is all my fault. I caused it with my thinking or my ‘lower vibration’.

As to being ‘truly enlightened’ I’m sure that if I were, I wouldn’t be down here, going through all of this. And neither would the self-professed guru.

My truth is that I’m human, journeying through life, and doing the best that I can.  Where I am able, I reach out and help others.  Some days it’s all I can do to help myself. To sit in a place where I felt compelled to dishonour my truth by being 100% positive and without ever having a single ‘negative’ thought would make me neurotic, and erode any sense of self-worth I had: oh the guilt (another negative thought!) that would come with any less-than-happy emotion. What catastrophe might I cause in my life with that? What suffering might I cause for others?

But this person got me thinking, searching that big fat heart of mine. And what I know in my own heart is this:

It’s okay to feel down sometimes. Or to have a thought or feeling that is not 100% positive. In fact, it’s normal.

Take, for example, sadness.

Girl Crying - Image from www.lovewayz.com

Girl Crying – Image from www.lovewayz.com

Sadness is an appropriate human emotion for many of the situations we find ourselves in.

When a relationship ends.

When a loved one dies.

When someone hurts our feelings, or we hurt someone with something we said or did.

When we miss someone.

When something that’s important to us goes missing or gets broken.

When there is suffering, disaster or catastrophe in the world, even when it happens far from our own shores.

When we suffer a setback or a disappointment.

When we’re exhausted or overwhelmed.

When we have problems in our lives.

Sad Snowman - Image from www.pickthebrain.com

Sad Snowman – Image from www.pickthebrain.com

Life is wonderful, but it’s also messy, painful and sometimes just plain hard.  We’ve become so caught up in that cult of personality – looking good, white teeth, perfect hair, charisma, being outgoing and outspoken, being judged well by others, having it all and being bright, shiny, and successful – that we’ve forgotten about character.

Character is the strength within us. Character is the backbone of a person – our internal moral compass, our ethics and behaviours.  Character is with us when no-one is watching. It’s all those old-fashioned things that no-one seems to talk about much anymore.  Honesty, loyalty, decency, work ethic, bravery, humility, compassion.

Life’s struggles and pain help to forge our character.  We will never know the strength within us until we have been tested by life’s trials.  Strength isn’t something you need when the world is flowing nicely and everything’s going your way.

Wiping away tears - Image from www.ibtimes.com

Wiping away tears – Image from www.ibtimes.com

Today I’m acknowledging you. I’m bearing witness to your struggles. I’m telling you that it’s okay to feel sad sometimes. It’s okay to sit in your vulnerability or pain, and wonder how you’ll get through.

You are an amazing and complex human being. Emotions just are, and the spectrum of emotion is what gives meaning and connection to our world. Live honestly. Live from your heart. Feel your feelings, and know that everything passes.  Joy, sadness, they all have their moment or their season.

I’d rather stand shoulder to shoulder with you in the real world, then live in that plastic space of artificial ‘feel good’.

To find a smile for another and the courage to keep going when life’s not flowing easily, when you’re not at your best, that’s what I admire.  That’s what I acknowledge in you.

You’re beautiful just as you are. Worthy and real.  So have a cry if you need to on those days when you feel sad.  Then wipe your eyes, and keep going…

Are you too NICE?

Image by andokadesbois.deviantart.com

Kindness is a loving balm, understanding is a mental tonic, compassion grows our hearts, love is food for the soul, but niceness? Far too often niceness is a poison administered to ourselves by our own hand.

There is a trend (and I recognise it because I once was in that same place!) where people beginning to become spiritually aware try to live from a place of unconditional love. That’s a beautiful thing, but too often what gets practised is not actually unconditional love but ‘niceness’.

Many people consider niceness to be a virtue; a sign of living from heart, and acting from love. I’m not referring to kindness, or good manners, or amiability. I’m talking here about pleasing others, not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings, and being agreeable and amenable, even if it comes at a high cost to yourself.

Speaking our truth honours us, and it teaches us honest and direct communication that honours and respects others. Can we come from a place of unconditional love and still speak our truth? Absolutely! Because the premise of unconditional love is that we also love ourselves.

Authenticity requires us to live with honesty – not with silencing ourselves or suppressing our true thoughts and emotions.

Niceness is not about unconditional love – it is about giving up honesty in order to avoid disapproval, confrontation, rejection, ridicule or embarrassment. It elevates the happiness and well-being of others above your own.  It is based on falseness, and by its nature, niceness prevents honesty and authenticity. When you come from niceness you teach others to devalue you, and disrespect you. You do not set clear boundaries.

Niceness does not come from a heart-centred life.  It grows out of fear and a lack of self worth. It is a behaviour that goes counter to our intuitive wisdom, and to those gut-based mechanisms that keep us safe.  We tell people what they want to hear, we do and say things to keep others happy, or to keep the peace. We act in a way that pleases others but that robs us of a little (or a big bit!) of ourselves.

We can always tell the difference between being nice and being kind.  Kindness comes from a place of being centred, and it empowers us.  It strengthens us, as it strengthens others. We can act with generosity or compassion and there is no cost to us, or it is a cost we willingly bear.  We give without expecting anything in return, for the sake of uplifting others.

Niceness always leaves you with an aftertaste – you know you have’t spoken truthfully; you feel that twang of inauthentic energy, that twinge of discomfort, or you even get that sense of being taken for granted or taken for a ride. Niceness diminishes us, even when it strengthens others. We bite our tongue in order to say the flattering thing, we do the act with a little flame of resentment in our heart. And sometimes it starts out as kindness – but our kindness becomes expected, or disrepected – we are taken advantage of but we are unable to speak up about that and voice our own feelings. So we act nice instead.

When we choose niceness it poisons us.  It leads to depression, anxiety, shame, emotional distress, guilt, anger and despair.   Life-long patterns of niceness leave us open to exploitation, and invite difficult, damaging and dangerous relationships into our lives.

We end up doing things we don’t want to do – we can become an entirely different person to who we are on the inside. We can lose ourselves so completely that we have no idea any more what makes us happy, what our preferences are, what we want in life…

Taken to extremes, through living a life of niceness we can cease to exist.  Instead we become the support role in someone else’s life.

Cinderella, at home scrubbing the floors while her stepsisters are out having fun!

Are you too nice? Maybe it’s time to start honouring your own truth. Love starts with the self, and a healthy self-esteem can only be built by standing up for yourself, giving your feelings a voice, and attending to your own needs.  You can do that and still be polite.  You can do that and still be kind.  You can do that and still be likeable, lovable and accepted.  Don’t keep drinking that from that poisonous niceness bottle!

And if your acts of self-respect and kindness aren’t taken well by others? Maybe it’s time to  get some space, maybe it’s time to stop giving, maybe it’s time to move on… If you have to be ‘nice’ in order for your life to work, the price will always be too high. You might be surprised.  In voicing your honest thoughts, you give others permission to do the same. Being authentic can create great change.  It invites miracles…

Choose love. Choose kindness. And above all, be true to yourself. It’s worth it! ❤