How NOT Being Nice Set Me Free
The fam and I went to a 4th of July party where we reconnected with friends we haven’t seen for the last few years.
It was mind-blowing to see how much our kids have all grown! 🤯
I’m telling you, you blink and they’re 27.
You know what I mean?
As I watched them splash in the pool, eat too many tacos and cupcakes, and play like there was no tomorrow, I realized that kids REALLY understand what it’s like to be “free”.
Which got me to thinking (as these things will do)…
In America, we have one day where we celebrate freedom. Which honestly… is a little wild.
Yes, I know we’re celebrating the country’s freedom and by extension, our own, but ONE day?
One of the main reasons people give me for wanting to become a coach, is “freedom”.
They want a life free of…
… financial limitations
… working an unfulfilling 9-5
… dreading Mondays ❌
… travel limitations
… drama and trauma
… limited time off and more
They essentially want to be free to do work they love with people they like from anywhere, anytime while not having their voice or thoughts restricted. THAT is freedom – no matter where in the world you’re located.
Studies show that one of the top things people value (if not THE top thing) is freedom.
So… why don’t we ACT like we value it more?
We say we want it but then in our everyday lives, we do things like…
… be nice to people when we really don’t want to (I know, hold on… more on this later)
… go to a job 8 hours a day to do work that doesn’t fulfill us
… stay in relationships we’ve outgrown
… play small for fear of what others will think
… and so on…
If you found yourself saying, “Dang, Cynthia. I do at least one of those things regularly,” then keep reading because this is going to focus on how you can reclaim your freedom in this one precious life.
Because it matters.
And because you deserve it.
Victor Frankl an Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor who spent 3 years in a Nazi concentration camp, wrote extensively about the concept of freedom in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” He said…
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Essentially what he is saying is while we may not have control over external events, we always have the freedom to choose our stories and our responses. I hope that serves you.
When I ask people the question, “What makes you feel free?” I get a lot of responses.
- Having a full day to do anything I want
- Being able to speak my mind 🗣
- Traveling to new places and experiencing different cultures
- Being in nature
- Getting creative through activities like painting, writing, or making music
- Letting loose and dancing like nobody’s watching (or not giving a fuck if they are)
- Making choices based on what I really want, not what others want for me
- Spending quality time with the people I love
- Doing work that feels like play
- Being financially independent
- Moving my body
- A little peace and quiet
- Expressing myself through fashion
- Learning new things
- And the list goes on and on…
You see, the thing about freedom is it’s here for the taking but most of us just… don’t.
Rumi said, “Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?”
So… why do you?
It’s a big question, I know.
Today, I invite you to take some time by yourSELF and write down a list of what makes you feel free. Use the list above for inspiration. ✨
Then, I want you to pick ONE of those things and either do it right away or schedule a time, date, and place you’ll do it this week.
I know I’ve said this so many times butttttttttt… This ONE precious life is it! It’s all you get. If not now, then when? ⏰
You didn’t come through too much heartache, trauma, and tragedy to settle for a life where you don’t feel free.
And you are worthy of every freedom there is. ⭐
So… again, pick ONE and make it happen.
Something you should know about me, if you don’t already, is this…
I’m not very nice.
And no, that’s not me fishing for compliments. I’m really just not that nice.
Let me explain.
In our pursuit of wanting everyone to like and accept us, we often fall into the trap of being nice, even when we don’t want to.
People are nice because they’re afraid of conflict, disapproval, or rejection.
Being nice prioritizes a pleasant surface-level interaction at the cost of your own well-being. And that’s not ok.
Studies show that being nice to people when you don’t want to can lead to increased stress, negative emotions, depression, anxiety, and even addiction!
And you say, “Great, Cynthia… I’ll just walk around being an asshole to everyone on the daily. Because THAT’S a great idea.”
And while that’s funny… that’s not what I’m asking you to do.
You see, there’s a difference between being NICE and being KIND.
I’m not very nice but I do consider mySELF to be very kind.
Here’s the difference:
Nice = surface-level politeness, desire to please others, using polite language, and avoiding conflict – even when you don’t agree with what is being said or done. It’s driven by societal expectations rather than genuine care or empathy.
Being nice stems from the fear of disapproval or rejection.
So again, I’m not very nice.
Then there’s kind…
Kind = genuine empathy, compassion, authenticity, and respect while prioritizing both your own needs and the well-being of others. It requires setting boundaries and making choices that foster growth, understanding, and positive connections.
Kindness aims to promote understanding, growth, and authenticity.
Can you see the difference?
If you find yourself being nice, even when you reallyyyy don’t want to, I invite you to stop it.
Instead, focus on being compassionate, even when you disagree.
Loving, even when you are saying no.
And authentic, even when you worry they won’t like it.
The takeaway here is this… being kind is a form of self-care. Being nice is a form of self-neglect.
In your journey toward being SELF Made, which will you choose?
SELF MADE SUCCESS
Success is often associated with external achievements. You know… money, cars, homes, fame, and fashion.
But TRUE success goes beyond this.
True success is about finding personal fulfillment, living as who you are – unapologetically, and experiencing the freedom to focus on what actually matters to you.
When you can define success on your own terms, you remove the limitation and constraints that prevent you from living a meaningful and fulfilling life. In other words, you become free.
I like to use this exercise to help my private coaching clients define their own personal vision of success. Maybe you’ll give it a shot too?
- Find a quiet space where you can reflect without interruptions. Have a notebook and a pen ready. No keyboards – writing by hand allows a more intentional, creative expression and creates a stronger connection with your brain. 🧠
- Imagine your ideal life, free from any judgments or expectations. How does this version of success look and feel to you?
- Write down your personal definition of success and what you would need to have, do, be, and experience. ✍
- Now list an action you can take to get closer to each of the things you wrote in Step 3.
- Circle one action from Step 4 and commit to taking it today. It doesn’t have to be big. The key is just to take immediate action so you have momentum.
- Tomorrow, do another thing from Step 4. Repeat daily. Remember, it doesn’t have to be huge leaps. Break your version of success down into baby steps and keep taking action! ⚡
Consistency is the key to being SELF Made so don’t give up.
You can do this. I’ll be here cheering you on!