Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Nice guys aren't.
A "nice guy" is a person that believes that if he is good enough he will get his needs met, everybody will like him and approve of him and he will live a smooth problem free life. I recently read a book called No More Mr. Nice Guy and the author, Dr. Glover explained why being a "nice guy" is not a good thing. According to the author we learn as children to be good and we will get our needs met and we carry that belief into adulthood.
This does not translate well into adulthood because the adult then tries to manage outcomes by being good. This is dishonest and manipulative. In every situation the "inner child" wants to be good enough and approved of in order to have a problem free life so he is willing to be dishonest. Modifying the truth is done through outright lying or by just omitting certain pertinent facts of a story in an attempt to make sure everyone is happy and likes us. I learned from the author that children lie because they are not powerful and in order to level the playing field they lie and because of childish "magical thinking" the child believes the adult will not find out.
One other thing I learned from this book is that our attempts to manage outcomes create a lot of anxiety. This anxiety is a manifestation of an internal conversation we are having due to seemingly unmanageable situations. The internal mantra or conversation is "I can't handle this". When you are anxious listen to your thoughts, I believe you will hear yourself saying that you can not handle the negative outcome of the present situation. The author suggests we adopt a new mantra. Whenever you feel anxious you choose the thought "I can handle it!" Because we can. This helps us be more authentic and to remain honest because we know that we can handle any outcome from telling the truth. I have a long way to go but I am less anxious because I have a better understanding of my internal conversation.