5 Lessons from a Recovering 'Nice Guy': How to Stop Sacrificing Yourself and Start Living AuthenticallyJan 16, 2023
Being a "nice guy" is often viewed as a positive trait, but in reality, it can be detrimental to our relationships and our own well-being. It involves putting others' needs before our own, neglecting our own boundaries, and engaging in covert manipulative behavior.
"Nice Guys" have inherited the false belief they are somehow fundamentally flawed. That they are not enough as they are. "Nice guys" use adaptive strategies, like compromising and being accommodating, to minimize the potential to be rejected, not liked, or not loved.
It's possible to overcome this "nice guy" syndrome and start living authentically.
Here are 5 lessons from a recovering "nice guy" that will help you do just that:
Give only if it's given freely. Be aware of where you have hidden strings attached to your actions and anywhere you are not forthcoming with your motives for reciprocation. Be honest with yourself and others about your true intentions and feelings.
Tell the whole truth. Not sharing the whole truth is a nice guy's way of avoiding the possibility of conflict. When we avoid conflict, we create a battle within. Be honest with yourself and others about your true intentions and feelings. A man that can't stand with some spine in his own truth stands for nothing.
Pause before saying "yes" to anything. That pause is a place of power. It gives you room to get clear on what you can stand behind and follow through on. It also gives you the space to feel into if it’s an authentic YES, or if it's a people-pleasing yes.
Set boundaries around the things that are important to you. Nice guys are great at neglecting themselves. Stop apologizing for having needs or acting like you don't have them. Stop waiting for permission to value yourself. Doing that actually makes you appear more "needy." Get clear on the conditions you need in your life and relationships to embody the best version of yourself and uphold the structures that enable that.
Being “nice” does not entitle you to anyone's time, attention, or affection. When you honor the boundaries, autonomy, and free will of others, you create an atmosphere of respect and trust around you, which is admirable and naturally makes people want to do good on you. When you quietly manipulate others with your words or actions and pout when things don’t go your way, you create an atmosphere of distrust and revulsion.
The paradigm of the "nice guy" is an epidemic amongst modern men. It is a behavioral mechanism where a man withholds his truth for fear of disappointing others. This kind of habit is on auto-pilot for many men, because this way of relating was a survival or coping strategy that was adopted from a young age.
If you learned that you needed to compromise some part of you to get your needs for love, care, or attention met, then it's likely that in your adult relationships you may have a hidden belief that says if I am completely honest with this person then they might leave or not like me.
The world can sense a man's lack of authenticity and withholding, in particular women. If you want to be trustable, be honest.
The truth is, you are short-changing the world by hiding your glory and magnificence. You will never be enough if your aim is enoughness.
If you want to be free, you need to risk sharing what's really true for you. Yes there is a possibility of losing that job opportunity, that date, or even a significant other. But if these things are not really aligned with who you are, ultimately they will make you miserable in the end. It's time to stop sacrificing yourself for the sake of being "nice" and start owning your authentic truth.
An integrated man is a man of integrity. He know his values and his needs. He has developed enough respect and love and for all parts of himself, his shadows and his light, that he's able to act authentically in his truth and in his power.
If hearing what a "nice guy" is feels like a punch in the gut for you because it speaks to your experience or character, there is hope. The men that break free from this pattern, do the inner work on themselves that manifests itself as confidence, self-respect, and healthier relationships.
The key to overcoming ‘nice guy’ syndrome is about developing backbone. Which fundamentally comes down to knowing how to regulate your own nervous system. It’s hidden anxieties that keep a man from owning his truth, asking for what he needs, and saying no when it’s not in alignment.
Learning to breathe intentionally is the first step to understanding how you can regulate your own nervous system. Make sure to sign up for my free breathwork download here, to start to master your mind and your emotions.