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- What is niceness?
productive and destructive aspects of niceness.
for dealing with niceness.
What is niceness?
- Niceness is an exaggerated display of positive social traits,
e.g., friendliness, compassion, generosity, helpfulness, etc.
These traits are usually displayed to other people, but we can
also be nice to ourselves.
- Niceness is a means of hiding our actual emotions, feelings,
thoughts, and desired actions; for example, niceness can cover
fear, anger, hostility, boredom, etc. Thus, niceness is a quality
of the persona, our social "mask."
productive and destructive aspects of niceness.
- The productive aspects of niceness. We can suppress a negative
trait -- deciding not to express it, but acknowledging it, and
planning to do "shadow-work" at a later time to resolve the
The destructive aspects of niceness.
- Niceness is essential sometimes for social protocol, when
our situation does not permit us to express our impatience or
other antagonistic attitudes.
- Niceness is essential sometimes as a default, when we
cannot deal directly with a difficult situation. For example,
we might not have the necessary social skills, knowledge,
experience, power (e.g., when our boss treats us unfairly), or
awareness of intuition.
- Niceness is essential sometimes when we meet new people.
Because we do not know these people, our superficial, "nice"
chit-chat might be an appropriate way to approach these people
with respect for their as-yet-unknown personality.
- Niceness is superficial, and so it is destructive in
situations which require emotional intimacy.
- Niceness can be narcissistic. We are concerned with our
image and our supposed virtue, instead of the other person and
the circumstance. However, niceness is not a virtue; on the
contrary, it can become a stifling substitute for a soulful
- Niceness can be based on repression (instead of
suppression). We might believe that our "nice" qualities are
our true identity, and so we deny that the opposite of
those qualities are equally true in our shadow. Thus, we
develop an inaccurate self-concept, and we cannot use the
"golden" qualities of the traits which we have repressed into
- Niceness is not an accurate response to a person's words
and actions. If someone is aggressive, and we respond with
niceness, the person might respond in these ways:
- The person might believe that aggression is acceptable
because we are responding to it with niceness.
- The person might feel unwarranted guilt or shame because
our niceness is an exaggerated positive contrast to the
- The person might hurt us. Although we might believe that
we like people who are excessively nice, we are compulsively
cruel to them. From our soul and our humanity, we are
punishing them because they are not fulfilling their
spiritual and human duty to participate honestly in this
archetypal situation. At these deep levels of our being:
- We want them to provide honest feedback to us. We
want the other person (i.e., the other soul) to give true
reflections of our actions as we learn about this
archetypal situation. And we want to be corrected when we
- We want them to confront their life honestly. Our
harshness is not a personal attack; instead, it comes
from the dynamic of spirit which is telling them to
satisfy their responsibility to explore the archetypal
situation with their true thoughts, energy tones, images,
- Niceness can be a means of controlling people. When we
believe that "I am being nice, and so you must be nice,"
we create the following conditions:
- We are prohibiting people from expressing their actual
thoughts and energy tones (i.e., emotions and feelings).
Perhaps we are trying to prevent them from asserting their
rights, or from provoking our charged archetypal-field
elements (i.e., our complexes) regarding an issue.
Therefore, we are squelching an opportunity to confront and
discharge those elements. Likewise, our niceness
prevents us from triggering someone's charged
elements (or from claiming our rights) in situations where a
confrontation is appropriate.
- We are trying to compel people to like us. We are
manipulating them by presenting an unrealistically pleasant
image of us.
dealing with niceness.
- Archetypal field-work.
Intuition. Intuition can tell us when to use the superficial
pleasantries of niceness, and when to confront the "not-nice"
aspects of a situation.
We understand the difference between suppression and
- Self-talk. "I can be nice when that quality is required."
"Niceness is only a temporary state while I learn to deal with
- Directed imagination. We can visualize ourselves in
situations where we are skillfully responding to a situation
with the fullest-possible expression of our thoughts, energy
tones, and actions -- instead of responding with phony
- Energy toning. We can generate the energy tones of
friendliness, compassion, generosity, helpfulness, etc. These
energy tones help us to generate niceness when that type of
presentation is necessary.
- The "as-if principle." Niceness itself is an expression of
the as-if principle; we are acting as if we have the traits
which we are portraying.
We can do shadow-work. The shadow contains our repressed and
suppressed thoughts, images, energy tones, and physical habits.
Through shadow-work, we resolve the charge of those elements, and
we reclaim their useful qualities.
- In healthy suppression, we can "act nice" while
acknowledging our contrary thoughts, energy tones, and desired
- In repression, we deny that those contrary things exist.
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