Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Forget Nice—Be Genuine

The Strength of Authenticity

I used to try to be nice to everyone.  I found myself using white lies to appease other people while holding in my true thoughts and emotions. People would compliment me by saying what a nice guy I was—"Johnny gets along with everyone."

After my daughter was born, I soon realized that this approach was deception. Something about becoming a father made me understand that I did not want my child to be nice like I had been. So, I changed and began to speak my truth. This made life so much easier, which helped me to gain internal strength.

That's me in my dad's arms being nice!

I soon began to see myself as more real—people looked at me differently. This translated into modeling self-confidence, which, in turn, allowed a more natural self-discovery for my little child, Anna.

By giving her honest answers to everything we experienced she grew up with a self-determination that encouraged curiosity and the natural empowerment of truth. I started to say, "I don't know" much more! Accepting the fact that I was not hiding anything inside, I was being genuine to myself and everyone I touched. With Anna, the "I don't knows" were often followed by, "But why don't we find out!"

Anna being her silly self! Hey, I can always get another shirt...

I am writing this post as a response to the insightful article titled, Instead of Teaching Your Kids To "Be Nice," Teach Them This.... Dr. Shefali understands the deeper psyche workings of human beings. Her approach is genuine. These qualities are the foundation to understanding children. Please click on the link and read the article for yourself. But first, I wish to share some of her tantalizing truths here:

What Does 'Be Nice' Really Mean?

  • "Be tolerant and accommodating
  • Keep the peace—don't ruffle feathers
  • Give up something about yourself or your belongings even though you don’t want to"

Girls are told to, “Be sweet.”  Sure that may sound okay, but what does that really mean?

"Be Sweet"'s message is:

  • "Deny, avoid and distract yourself from your true feelings
  • Avoid conflict and find a compromise at all costs
  • Don’t be assertive, but instead, find a way to get along with the other person"

Dr. Shefali clarifies her view of "Nice":

"The core of this blog is that “niceness” can never come from a denial of our true feelings and sense of self. On the contrary, true niceness can only manifest when we are fully authentic to our feelings and sense of self."

Dr. Shefali asks parents and all child caregivers to:

"Shift the focus away from niceties and superficialities of behavior and instead, teach our children this: 

  •  Engage with others from an authentic place
  •  Know your boundaries and don’t allow anyone to cross over them
  • Respect the boundaries and freedoms of others
  • Not everyone is going to like you nor should they have to
  • You don’t need to be friends with everyone nor should you feel the need to
  • No one is defined by anyone or anything outside of oneself
  • Lying to one’s self for the sake of a relationship will ultimately end in dysfunction
  • Sometimes it is more important to be honest than “nice.”
  • If “nice” comes at the cost of authenticity, it is better to veer away from the relationship
  • Those who love you will allow you to be honest and authentic at all costs"

Girls can climb slides backwards, too!!!

I have found that this approach of feeding the soul and not the ego, as Dr. Shefali states, takes away the burden, or pressure, of trying to be nice. It makes living in the present with truth much easier—much more energetic.

Luckily, I was able to understand the strength of authenticity and pass it on to Anna. My daughter has fed off of this all her life—becoming an individual with a sparkle in her gait!

Dr. Shefali gets it.

My daughter lived it and got it.

It works. Forget nice. Be genuine.

Cheers, Papa Green Bean

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