“When words are both true and kind, they can change the world.”
I’m not sure when or how this personality trait of mine developed, but I think I may have been born with it because as early as I can remember I have had a strong desire to cheer people up. I can’t stand conflict or dissonance—so much so that I will go to the ends of the earth to restore some type of harmony.
You see, I’m a nice girl.
I have been known to give away my toys as a child and filled the role as mediator in family disagreements at a young age. I don’t cut in line and sometimes let others go ahead of me. I drive carefully and feel terrible if I mistakenly cut someone off in traffic, even if that mistake causes someone to display their anger towards me in unkind words or gestures. I find myself smiling and waving an apology back or completely ignoring them while muttering under my breath Sheesh, anger issues dude?
I am not a badass. I stay sober. I don’t smoke. I cook food for my family (most of the time). I don’t cheat the system. I read a book from cover to cover unless I don’t like it. I am apt to apologize for things I have no control over and many times I feel like if you don’t walk away from me feeling a bit better about yourself, I must have done something wrong.
My point in telling you this is not for accolades or to have a gold star emblazoned on my forehead, but because I feel the need to stand up for the Nice Girl. Why do I have to stand up for her? Because the nice girl rarely does.
You see, the nice girl doesn’t want to trouble others with her concerns. She will smile and nod and be quick to say “I’m fine, how are you?” She will tell you things are great when they aren’t. She will wash the dishes or do the project when you haven’t because she hates to nag.
She will do her best to see the bright side of things when inside she wants to just curl up and cry or stand on the roof and yell.
The nice girl doesn’t do these things because someone told her to act this way (although at times people reinforce this behavior). She does them because it feels completely wrong to put her needs before anyone else. She worries about you and she wants to do right by you.
She will find strength in places she never knew she had in times when any sign of strength seems to be gone. She will have your back when you need it. She will defend you even when you are wrong and then pull you aside and tell you kindly that you are wrong.
The nice girl will require you to look deeper in the canned replies to How are you? and Do you need any help with that? When you go out on a limb for her, she will be unable to express just how grateful she is and she won’t forget it.
A nice girl will sometimes have difficulty in accepting any attempts for you to reach out and will quickly deflect any offers by saying things like It’s no trouble. This is because she struggles with asking for any kind of help.
Don’t let her do this. She will be better off for it later, because she tends to hold her frustrations deep inside.
Once in awhile these frustrations will bubble up and out of nowhere she will be upset and angry. It will take most people by surprise because this is completely unlike her and will seem to happen spontaneously. This is a sign that she needs you more than ever.
She will need time to recover afterwards, and most likely will be consumed with guilt for lashing out at you and all those she loves the most. Forgive her. Chances are the idea of possibly hurting you hurts her so much more than it actually did, and it will haunt her dreams.
Give her time and space to express herself when possible. She will pick an art form or favorite thing and this will be her outlet. If you are lucky, she will share it and this will expose sides of her you didn’t know existed—sometimes darker sides.
She will have many layers—fragments and pieces she hides—and if she opens up this part of her it means you have gained her trust.
You see, to know a nice girl is to know someone that lives to make you happy. Be sure to treat her with care. Many will find a way to walk over her but she would prefer that you walk with her instead.
I know I do.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo credit: Ivana Miletie/Pixoto