Monday, 2 July 2018

30 Day Writing Challenge 2/30: What I Never Forgot

Day 2: Write something that someone told you about yourself that you never forgot

Years ago, an ex-best friend's mother told me that I was 'too nice'. I remember where I was when she told me this (in her robust 4x4 as we were heading into town together), but I cannot for the life of me remember the conversation that led up to this moment. I remember falling silent after she expressed this thought, mulling over what I had just heard. 'Too nice'? What did that even mean? Can a person ever be 'too nice', and if they can, how do I fall into that category? I barely consider myself 'nice' let alone 'too nice'.

It's something that has always stuck with me, and I think the reason why I remember this and why it affects me so much even now is the very reason that proves it to be true: I care too much.

On the surface, it might seem like I care about certain things very little. I take a long time to reply to messages. I don't keep my bedroom tidy. I'm not normally the first to start a conversation. And these things may make it seem as though I'm not a nice person, and I often find myself debating whether or not I am a nice person because I consistently make bad decisions, and I feel as though I let people down on a regular basis.

But in my head, I care far too much. I don't reply to messages right away if I'm not in a good enough mood to have a full-on conversation, because my friend deserves someone who can engage with them properly. Sometimes, I just can't think of anything to say. I find it hard to start clearing out my room because I don't know where to start, and my brain starts spiralling away with options of how I could organise things. As a result, I get overwhelmed, and settle for doing nothing and living in the mess. I find it hard to start a conversation because every conversation starter that pops into my head sounds lame or weird or cringe-inducing, and I spend so much time deciding on how to start a conversation that the other person has already lost interest in the weird silent girl standing beside them by the time any words make it out of my mouth.

And I guess that this 'caring too much' thing must seep through somehow. I feel like I am never involved enough in other people's problems when they need help, and yet other people's problems keep me up at night. I'm the one who tries to remain calm when someone tells me about their problems to avoid looking strange, but I'm sometimes the one who ends up caring more than they do. I am the one who gives people the benefit of the doubt at all times, and who always tends to make excuses for other people's behaviour, always assuming that I don't know everything about a situation.

In this sense, being 'too nice' is a weakness of mine. It is very easy for others to play on my emotions and as such, I feel as if I am naïve enough to become a victim of manipulation. There have been moments when I have tried to stop being 'too nice', times when I have put my foot down and been the very opposite of 'too nice' to get a point across, and I've ended up feeling wracked with guilt with the thought that I have hurt somebody for my own gain. It's hard for me to even be honest about negative emotions (even though I know that it is far better to be honest even if the truth hurts) because I hate the thought of offending somebody else, even if my intention is not to offend but simply to express my own feelings.

But it should go without saying that being nice is not a bad thing. Yes, there may be such a thing as being 'too nice', but in a world where it seems like kindness is a diminishing trait, it is always a treat to come across people who are genuinely nice. They're always the people that stick in my mind, and the people that I feel grateful to have met. It is a brave act to be kind, and I may not have mastered it completely, but I wish I could. As stated earlier, I feel like I overthink everything far too much to ever truly engage in full-on kindness and emotional openness, but I hope that I will get there one day. I hope that I will someday have the confidence to be truly kind, without worrying that somebody will call me 'too nice', or tell me that my kindness is weakness. Kindness is not weakness. Do not be ashamed of being kind.

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