Personally, I strive to align my behavior, my words, and my actions with that of my version of Santa Claus… which for me is my “Higher Self”, or my “Best” self. Living in alignment with these “Higher Self” ideals is the primary reason I started portraying Santa year-round.
A couple of things this means to me, and when the opportunities present themselves what I try to encourage in others, both children and adults, are the ideas of being NICE & being GOOD FOR GOODNESS SAKE.
Here is the concern I have and the reason I’m writing this…
Some people see being nice as being weak, or being a pushover, or being the one who always compromises… I DO NOT see it that way… at all!
“Never mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, or my kindness for weakness.”
To me being NICE is primarily related to thoughtfulness & communications.
By having a reputation of being nice people may try to take advantage of you, we must remember, nobody can take advantage of us if we don’t let them. We can be firm and still be nice.
I tell children and adults alike that being nice doesn’t mean being powerless and allowing ourselves to be bullied. Being nice isn’t about having no preference or opinion and it doesn’t mean being okay with everything.
That’s not being a nice person… It’s being weak, or lazy, or worse.
For example, if someone hits you, being a nice person doesn’t mean standing there and letting them hit you again. If you’re in a relationship, or a Facebook Group, with someone who constantly puts you down, being a nice person doesn’t mean not standing up for yourself.
If you always pay for someone’s meals and they never offer to pay, you can choose to split the bill the next time. Being a nice person doesn’t mean you are obligated to do things that make you unhappy.
If your niceness is something you’re complaining about or even feeling a bit annoyed with, you’re not being nice, you’re allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. That’s not niceness or generosity, that’s passive-aggressiveness.
When we feel taken advantage of, it has very little to do with us being a nice person and very much to do with our inability to say ‘no’ and to communicate why.
Being nice doesn’t mean not communicating our frustration or upset. It just means communicating without negativity or losing our temper.
There are many ways of saying one thing and we can choose to voice our discontentment and disagreement in a calm, rational and nice way.
And we can always choose to nicely disengage or exit a toxic environment.
People will only treat us badly if we let them. People will only take advantage of us if we let them. We can be a nice, kind, warm, generous, and open person without saying yes to things we’re unhappy about. Be nice and confident and smart, and be happy, always.
BEING NICE IS SIMPLE… But it’s not always easy.
What about being good?
From my “Higher Self” perspective I always add being good for GOODNESS SAKE. What does that mean, and why is it so important to me?
There is strength in having your good behavior emanate from a desire that is bigger than people.
We might tell a young child, “be good for your grandma while I’m away” and that’s fine, in a way, for a young child… but as we get a little older… say 6 or 7, (or 60 or 70), we don’t want our good behavior to be the result of external expectations or constraints.
For GOODNESS SAKE implies you are being good, because you are the kind of person who does good.
Good behavior of course covers a lot of ground… these 12 virtues are a good place to start:
1) Courage – bravery, and valor
2) Temperance – self-control, and restraint
3) Liberality – bigheartedness, charity, and generosity
4) Magnificence – radiance, joie de vivre
5) Pride – self-satisfaction
6) Honor – respect, reverence, admiration
7) Good Temper – equanimity, level-headedness
8) Friendliness – conviviality, and sociability
9) Truthfulness – straightforwardness, frankness, and candor
10) Wit – a sense of humor – meaninglessness, and absurdity
11) Friendship – camaraderie, and companionship
12) Justice – impartiality, evenhandedness, and fairness
These virtues align with my “Highest Self”, you?
I’m always on the lookout for the right language and interesting examples and stories that I can use to demonstrate the value of living by a code of values, values that serve both us and others well.
Being GOOD for GOODNESS SAKE too is simple… and often not easy.
My Santa Claus portrayal has helped keep the importance of being nice and being good for goodness sake front and center in my mind… over the years the percentage of time that I actually live in alignment with these values and virtues has increased… I am and always will be a work in progress… but I am making progress.
My hope and intention is to bring smiles, and happiness into a lot of lives… and, where possible, to be ready and able to provide a bit more… something a bit more significant and with the potential be a real, long-term, life-enriching gift.
The gift of perhaps playing a small part in helping someone become a GOOD person who is NICE.