Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Highly susceptible to guilt.

Sometimes I feel too nice. Too prepared to lie down and be walked over. Too prepared to be the one apologising. To be the one who puts others in front. To be the one who isn't asking. To be giving while others take. Too much turning the other cheek. And I follow those feelings up with noticing how self-centred and cruel they are. By not wanting to be the person I would be if I behaved like that. By not wanting to feel bad for it afterwards. 'I'm not nice! I'm just...highly susceptible to guilt.'* I'm sure I don't always succeed. Sometimes I wish I didn't. Wish I didn't feel compelled to be nice. I don't want to be nice any more. But what does not being nice achieve? More heartache all round, for everyone including me.

Being nice feels great sometimes. Sometimes it's almost selfish, like wanting to give people things to see them being happy and get the glow of knowing you did that - but that makes everyone happy, so it doesn't matter that it goes both ways. And then self-sacrifice has its own appeal. Martyrdom. But then there's resentfully being nice...being nice because there's no practical choice otherwise. Because you can't stand to feel the guilt. Because you can see that being unpleasant would have the sole effect of relieving your feelings and causing pain without advancing the situation. Trapped in being nice. Because you love someone and that makes the guilt far deeper. And no matter what happens, you love them and try and do the best for them even though it doesn't feel like the best thing to do for yourself. Even if at some level it is. And feel like a doormat and left behind and lost and not understanding why you aren't behaving differently. Because you can't behave differently because there is no way of being different. Alternatives aren't alternatives.

I'm not sure if this sort of nice scores you any points. Does it put you ahead for round two? I'm not sure if it doesn't leave you open to more prone silence in the future. But I don't want to be the person who doesn't at least try to be nice. Head down and keep walking. Slow and steady wins the race and all that. But I'm not sure the world works like that, no matter how many world religions would like it to be so.

I don't want to be a cruel person. I want to be a fair person. I want to be a nice person. I want to be a kind person. I want to be trusted and safe. I want to put others first. Because that's what we're all taught when we're tiny. Sometimes, I wish I didn't. I think it might be easier if I wasn't susceptible to guilt. But I am. And I will carry on trying to be those things, even it means I do end up with a reputation as unflappable and strong. I don't feel either of those things.

*Wonderfalls. Possibly the best TV show ever made. Only available in American DVD format, so you need a region-free player or Linux and a techie to watch it outside of the US but SO worth it. Seriously. I wish they'd made more than one series. And I'm annoyed that Carl got that tagline into his email signature before I'd watched that far so I couldn't use it myself...

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