Nice

 

Nice as an adjective/concept gets a bit of a ‘bad rep’, don’t you think? It seems to be synonymous with weakness, ‘Ooh she’s TOO nice’-that kind of thing, that it’s not cool to be kind (well, it flipping is)… I consider myself a nice person, bar the moody cow I become for a day around my period (then I’m not so sure) but bar that hormonal hiccup I’d say I’m a fair, kind and compassionate person. I’m fun to be around (I’m always the first on the dance floor and I’ll drop anything for my mates). Some people might confuse my confidence for arrogance, my ambition for self-centredness but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Read Reece Witherspoon’s cover piece in Glamour to know that equating ambition with ruthlessness is utter baloney.

I was a born performer and storyteller, the stage and writing and filmmaking feels like home to me. I need to unleash and channel my creativity. That’s who I am. But I was serve, inform and entertain others. Most of all, I hope to inspire and encourage people to change their lives or feel better about themselves. That’s what drives me.

When it comes to friendship, my oldest friends are my closest, those I’ve known since I was a kid but I’m also that girl who makes friends everywhere I go (being loud with big hair, helps, people tend to be drawn to me).

So what’s this post about you’re wondering? Get on with it girl, I hear you cry…

A good mate of mine and I were chatting over the concept of kindness, the other day, and how whilst we’ve been on the receiving end of some down-right nastiness, mostly from other women sadly (you know the drill: bitchiness and her bestie, passive aggression), for the most part, the majority of people I surround myself with are good eggs: they have integrity, are open and kind but like me, they take no bull and are a little bit kick-ass.

They know who they are and aren’t afraid to show it. To show up, be themselves and not sweat what others think of them.

This isn’t a coincidence. It’s comes from sorting the wheat from the chaff.

My gut doesn’t lie. Nor does yours.

I’m also in possession of a some sort of sixth-sense about a fair few things and find myself in tune with people easily. So much so, I’ve known when others were pregnant when they didn’t know themselves (even people I’d just met) and when people close to me have been in trouble…I can also instantly tell who genuinely likes me and who doesn’t (I can read dis-ingenuity a mile off, and 99% of the time, I can read people like a book).

Despite this ‘superpower’ which most of us possess but choose to ignore, I still like to give people the benefit of the doubt/chances because that’s fair and people change. Two strikes, though and they’re out. Similarly, I tolerate low-key shizz because you have to choose your battles right, and we’re all just human.

I think my many years as a director both in drama and documentary, fine-tuned how perceptive I am when it comes to people, as my job was to pull together a narrative/ lead my vision and draw out stories/performances particularly in drama that had integrity and felt truthful.

A great piece of drama is one where you can’t see the performance. Actors shouldn’t be acting with a capital A, if you like. In the same way, you mustn’t see the direction, that’s not the sign of a great director, you as the audience should be pulled into the story through character and plot. The whole scene and the workings behind it, must be invisible.

I digress. After that huge essay, let’s get back to being nice. The quality that should come so easily, yet doesn’t for everyone.

First up…

Question whether you’re consistently nice and if not, make a change.

Are you consistently kind to others, PMT aside and even then, you can read this to help with your moods. Ask yourself whether you’re empathetic, understanding and importantly, forgiving of others because we all mess up, overreact, act-up at times in life because we’re all human and have weaknesses/PMT! You need to forgive yourself too.

To be frank, there’s a lot of deluded people in the world who believe they’re nice when in actual fact, behind closed-doors they relentlessly b**** about others, taking enjoyment in putting people down. This behaviour manifests, mostly because whomever they’re scolding that poses some sort of threat to them or shines a light on their own insecurities. Rather than admit that to themselves and work on the areas they indeed emulate/envy, they opt for character-assassination over personal growth. If this sounds like you, then check yourself before you wreck yourself and upset others for no good reason.

If you’re in this jealous/b***** vicious cycle, then stop. Right now. Stop talking badly about others. Stop putting people down. Let people be their glorious, individual selves. Question why you feel the way you do. If someone has hurt you but it’s worth saving the relationship, rather than walking away, speak frankly to them, expressing your feelings and pain. Discuss how you feel and listen to their side of the story too.

B****** will always make you feel worse, so rather than taking the coward’s way, talk to that person or cut them out of your life and move on.  Also, if you hear others being bitchy, call it out.

I’m always honest hence the name. Not everyone appreciates honesty but real bonds will only strengthen from it.

In short, be a nice person. If you need to work on your empathy levels, read Lajos Egri’s famous The Art of Dramatic Writing (a seminal text I would also add to my reading list when teaching MA Screenwriting) as there’s nothing quite like it that offers insight into character and action like this does.

When it comes to walking away…know this, I was always the girl who gave others chances but since kids have come along, my patience and time has become limited. My energy is precious. Nobody’s got time for nastiness or weirdness (you know the way you have to unravel behaviour that doesn’t feel normal: mind games and pseudo friendship). You don’t need to tolerate it. Be polite, be professional if you are forced to work with others you don’t like or respect but keep focused about what and whom matters.

Also, know that what other people think of you is NOT fact as my gloriously wise friend, renowned actress and now vlogger, Harriet Thorpe reminded me of recently. Harriet you are a great friend and your wisdom endlessly improves my life. Thank you x

 

Help others

Helping others is a reciprocal act, it will make you feel 1789954643 x better about yourself and helps to give you purpose. Work out how you can be of service to others and stop focusing on your own ego. It’s both liberating and joyful to take the emphasis away from yourself and see others smile/laugh or feel valued by your work or input. It’s addictive, even.

 

Apologise

Nice people don’t fear saying ‘sorry’. I’m teaching Oliver, 7, that he must learn to apologise with ease, especially when it comes to his brother, Xander, 4. Admittedly, Oliver struggles with apologies so we’re working on it everyday as it’s vital he knows when he’s done wrong (which he does but doesn’t always admit it) but he also must make amends for it too. There’s a lot of adults who could do with practising this too.

 

Have fun

Have you noticed that nice people are busy getting on with in their own lives, seeking out the joy in everyday and being generally positive people? You can train yourself to become more optimistic and happier. Your brain is malleable and plastic and can be rewired and remoulded-just start today. That doesn’t mean if you’re feeling depressed or anxious you mustn’t ask for help and support or medication if you feel you need it, but you can help yourself with exercise, positive affirmations, surrounding yourself with positive energy and remembering that, ‘this too shall pass’ even when you’re feeling at your worst.  (I know, I’ve been there).

 

Stop comparing

It’s easy to compare yourself to others but you’re a one-off, so don’t forget it. Social media is but a slither of reality and it’s worth remembering that it’s human nature to focus on the brighter parts of life- we all do it. Whilst healthy comparison is positive as it can highlight your own goals and serve to spur you on, it’s vital not to let it tear you down and ramp up the imposter syndrome. If people’s handles online make you consistently feel crap, then scroll on by, unfriend or unfollow. Life is far too short to feel awkward or miserable.

 

Be grateful

It’s a sad fact that we tend to only feel TRULY grateful when BAD things happen in life, reminding us of the good. Practising being grateful really does unlock happiness. It allows you to pause and reflect on everything you have in the NOW making you more mindful. Take time to write a list of all you have to be grateful for or say a prayer before bed to help reset negativity.

So that’s it, my guide on how to be kind and improve yourself. We’re all constantly learning, growing and developing so don’t forget that fact.

I spent my childhood expecting to find that ALL grown adults would be decent human beings who would consistently do the right thing and lead by example. Sadly, we all know that’s not the case (and to be fair Roald Dahl did his best to prepare us all didn’t he) yet we must continue to strive to be nice ourselves. We have that responsibility to our kids as much as to ourselves.

 

Photo by Mariano Rossi on Unsplash.

 

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27 Responses

  1. Katrina Bruni

    All so very true. Like you, I’m not going to change being nice to suit others. I won’t lower myself to their level. I love the “It’s comes from sorting the wheat from the chaff.” – spot on and with age and self love I have banished people from my life and my life is so much more fulfilling. I have zero time for negativity. I am also that person that will stick up for others if I hear or see someone being “bullied” – I hate bullies as I was bullied a lot in school and won’t tolerate it in this stage of my life. Everything you say I wholeheartedly agree with – as ever, you hit the nail on the head. You are such a wonderful, kind and giving person and I know you won’t change. Grounded too which is always the best place to be. All the love lovely lady. Xxx

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Aw thank you sweetie, I feel the same way about you. We are so similar. Integrity and kindness without being a walkover is the only way to live. My Dad is always telling me I give people too many chances but this last year has shown me how important forgiveness is but that doesn’t mean letting people you forgive has air time or a place in your life, it just means you forgive, move on and live your best life, lots of love xxx
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  2. Cassie Parish

    You took the words out of my mouth on so many aspects. This post is absolutely spot on.

    Like you, I also had less time to play niceties with everyone once I became a mum. There’s a difference between being kind to people and letting them take the proverbial wee out of you. So with a heavy heart I cut people off too. I still doubt whether it was “me not them” but I’m working hard on not dwelling on negative feelings and emotions.

    You’re a girl aged my own heart, really you are.

    Keep doing you x
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    • Honest Mum

      Aw thank you lovely, so important to move away from negativity xx
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  3. Moonsparkle (ZM)

    I was just saying the other day how niceness is sometimes seen as a bit of a bland or negative thing, but I’d much rather be nice than horrible! I value niceness and kindness highly and if someone has been kind to me I really appreciate and remember it.

    My favourite are the last 3 tips. I stuggle with comparsion but realise that a lot of us are presenting the “highlights” of ourselves online, as you said. I like to write gratitude lists Thanks for the post. 🙂
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    • Honest Mum

      Gratitude lists are so important. It’s crucial you realise what you bring and there’s no one else like you xx
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  4. Suze Cooper

    Such an important post that says it like it is. All too often I find myself a victim of my own caring so I like how you have written about self care in this post, while also relating it to how we behave towards others. A really thoughtful piece. Thank you #brillblogposts
    Suze Cooper recently posted…School run-insMy Profile

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  5. Nico @ yumsome

    Yeah, I don’t get this ‘too cool for school’ attitude that means people behave like knobbers toward others. Why? What is wrong with being kind? What is wrong with being a reasonable human being?

    A couple of days ago, one of my fellow bloggers received a long, three paragraph message, telling her how wrong she is for actually bothering to write a story to accompany her recipe. S/he complained that they didn’t want to have to scroll down to get to the recipe because it was too much. They clearly didn’t see the irony of writing a short essay of complaint! Ha ha! xx

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Gosh, what is wrong with people. I love recipes with personal stories. Everyone’s an editor. The power of blogging and creating online is that we the creator get to produce what we like. If someone doesn’t like it, they don’t have to read it. I hope it hasn’t deterred your friend in any way xx
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  6. Mama Grace

    I think gratitude combines a lot of these things. When you look at what I’m grateful for you stop comparing, have empathy, realise what you’re whinging about and decide to forgive and how lucky you are that helping others seems a pleasure. A great post. #BrillBlogPosts
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  7. Lucy At Home

    The world would be a much better place if everyone was nice to each other. I definitely agree that you are a happier person when you are nice to people, rather than moaning and arguing all the time. But it can be sad when people take advantage of your niceness (note to self: nice doesn’t have to mean walk over!). A lovely post! #brillblogposts
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    • Honest Mum

      Yes, I hear that, my Dad always tells me to be careful about that. I always see the good in others x
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  8. Eb Gargano

    Aaargh – all people everywhere should be MADE to read this…I’m sure the world would be a happier place. I just don’t get why people have to go out of their way to be un-nice – what’s the point? The hardest part is being nice back to people who are not nice to you…but I’ve learnt, no matter how it drives you mad…it is always better to be nice back (though sometimes through gritted teeth!!) Eb x
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    • Honest Mum

      Ha yes, so important and that means forgiving those who have done you wrong x
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  9. Emma Peach

    Really lovely post. Comparing ourselves to others is only going to lead to dissatisfaction and possibly resentment. We all have reasons to be grateful, it’s just a matter of focusing on those things.

    Emma xxx
    http://www.style-splash.com
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    • Honest Mum

      Truly the only way to live is to not let comparison stall you. Be strong, don’t compare and know that your individuality is what makes you shine-and you do shine x
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  10. Angela Milnes

    A fabulous post to read. I think being able to say sorry is so important. I also agree about the comparing thing. It can be easy to get down by comparing on social media but social media and blogs are narratives and people are choosing what to and what not to share. I think the best comparison is to compare against ourselves. How we have personally improved and grown. That’s a much better way.

    Reply
  11. jodie filogomo

    This needs to be shouted from the roof tops!! I’m sharing this all over, because it’s not hard to be nice. It doesn’t cost anything, and we all benefit from it!!
    Bravo, bravo, bravo!!!!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com
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  12. Vicky

    Lovely post, Vicki. I always have to remind myself to practice more gratitude. It doesn’t come naturally to me, at all. But the moment I think about all the good in my life, family, friends, health…I instantly feel uplifted. x
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  13. Michael McFarlane

    PMT aside I’d like to think I’m a nice guy. 🤣
    Most days I try make sure I do at least one kind thing, it soon just becomes second nature. Beautiful post. X
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