Will Being “Too Nice” Get You Depressed?

Quote in blue text reads Nice Guys Finish Last

A writer by the name of Elizabeth Pettingill, writing for wakeup-world.com on 6/18/15, writes:

There is such a thing as being too nice, too giving and too caring. To overcome depression you must stop the habit of bending over to gain people’s approval. I know, it’s easier said than done. But no one said it’d be easy.

Those who are affected by depression tend to be people-pleasers. And yet, ironically, quite often their actions are viewed by others as selfish and self-centered. For over three decades I believed in that crap myself. I believed I was selfish and self-involved. I was convinced I had nothing to offer. I also thought that it didn’t matter what I thought. That my opinion was less important than anyone else’s. It seemed as if I was always living someone else’s life.

Actually, I don’t think the issue is being TOO nice so much as being indiscriminately nice.

In other words, not knowing who deserves your niceness and kindness, and why or why not, is the real problem.

The deeper issue might be not knowing what you value, or — if you do — being afraid to express it, consistently, in words and action.

If someone deserves your love, admiration, respect or kindness, I don’t think you’re being too nice by exhibiting these emotions, and I don’t think you’d get depressed. Quite the contrary: Having a hero or someone to admire can lift your spirits, not make you sad.

On the other hand, if you give the same level of respect or “niceness” to everyone, not only is it phony, but it breeds resentment and hostility, both in the phony person and the victim of the phoniness.

The author hits at the truth when she says she felt like she was “living someone else’s life.” This comes from a sense of trying to please, not because of niceness or kindness — but from not knowing how else to gain approval.

The problem with this approach is that it’s hollow. Also, you will attract the wrong people. If you’re a slavish servant to the needs of others, then you’ll attract either narcissists or otherwise damaged, needy people. Such people don’t make good or reliable friends, because they lack the integrity and personal authenticity required to make a friendship (or romantic relationship) of any depth. No matter how much you please them, it will never be enough. Why? Because the whole relationship (partly of your creation) is based on continually pleasing them. Once you actually do please them, there will be no more point to the relationship.

There is only one person in this entire Universe that needs your pleasing, and that person is you.

There is only one person who needs your caring the most, and yes, you’ve guessed it –  it’s you again.

There’s nothing wrong with pleasing another. However, if you have not first pleased yourself, then there’s no possibility of knowing whom you want to please, whom you should please, and why.

It takes value of life and self to be a good friend or romantic partner — or anything else. The people whom you can trust are not the slavish servants of others this writer used to be; the people you can trust are the ones who mean what they say, and say what they mean. They practice integrity not for your sake, but simply as a byproduct of being someone who loves his or her own life and takes it seriously. They don’t do it in a mean-spirited way. They are simply honest, giving you honest feedback whenever you ask for it, and never volunteering any false feedback.

Make yourself OK with being alone for now. Make yourself comfortable with being with… YOU. Get to know yourself. Find out exactly what your needs and desires are and then become unstoppable in fulfilling them! Be selfish. You’ve been accused of it so many times before, now it’s time for you to show others (and yourself) how selfish you can really be! Show them that you mean business… 🙂

Renounce the guilt. Let go of it. Completely. It’s time to release it.

Shocked by her statements? Being selfish is a good thing? That can’t be right!

Read the following by Ayn Rand, who wrote the book with the shocking title, The Virtue of Selfishness. Says Rand:

The meaning ascribed in popular usage to the word “selfishness” is not merely wrong: it represents a devastating intellectual “package-deal,” which is responsible, more than any other single factor, for the arrested moral development of mankind.

In popular usage, the word “selfishness” is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.

Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word “selfishness” is: concern with one’s own interests.

This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions.

Rand is right that this toxic “package deal” over selfishness has arrested the moral development of mankind, more than any other single factor. Arrested moral development has psychological, behavioral and interpersonal consequences. You end up living for others, rather than yourself — and in the process, never develop the character, virtue or self-responsibility you might otherwise have enjoyed.

Being a good person, as well as a mentally healthy one, starts with the “I.” Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. And if anyone else insists this is wrong — consider the source. In my experience, it’s only people with an agenda who wish you to practice self-sacrifice and selflessness. It’s usually their own toxic, nefarious agenda.

Renounce the guilt.


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