Beware of “nice” – it isn’t always….

by Rod Smith

When dealing with difficult situations or difficult people…..

1. Your responses are more important than the difficulties or the problems presented. You can choose to escalate (step up) the anxiety or embrace and reduce it (step down). The latter is usually infinitely more productive, although at times, purposefully escalating issues can bring necessary change. It takes wisdom to know the difference.

2. Knee-jerk, reactive behavior will usually hurt you, while planned, creative, and honest responses will facilitate resolution and healing – if resolution and healing are even possible.

3. Not all conflicts can be resolved, nor can all painful or destructive circumstances be healed – but it is possible to allow everything we face to become a transformational crucible, a context that stimulates growth, provokes change, and transforms our character. “What can this teach me?” is a more useful response than, “How can I win?”, “How can I be vindicated?” or “How can I get out of this?”.

4. It is helpful to acknowledge that some people are so toxic, destructive, bitter, or disillusioned that resolution is impossible – and it is better to sever the relationship than it is to play with their fire. By the way, they are often the “nicest” people. Beware of nice! Be even more aware of “religious and nice.” It is often a calculated front. (“Buite blink; binne stink!” This is an Afrikaans idiom: “Outside sparkles; inside stinks.”)

5. As a general rule grace and flexibility will triumph over resentment and rigidity, forgiveness is always more powerful and liberating than harboring resentments.

One Comment to “Beware of “nice” – it isn’t always….”

  1. Thanks for this very incisive post, Rod — I think you’re on the verge of developing a theology of nice. Until now, I thought nice was nice. Of course, I’ve seen the underside of it at times but never realized how harmful and deceptive it can be. Are religiosity, refinement, and respectability (at all costs, including the cost of honest relationships) the preferred Trinity for some?

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