Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty

Laura

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So, I think people are in a spectrum of all of this, and that it's important to recognize where our default tendencies lean towards and in which kinds of situations, so as to better adjust them. It's about finding more balance, and taking the law of three into account. (The is right and wrong - yes and no-, and the specific situation). Trying new approaches can be useful too (often to discover that what we anticipated would happen doesn't happen at all!)

IOW, a "no" can be just as mechanical and emotionally driven as a "yes", so it's about becoming more conscious, knowing our limits, our values, our goals, and respecting those a bit more, while doing our best to respect those same things in others.

Anyway, just some thoughts on the matter, but maybe the author already covers these in the book. So, FWIW.
Good points.

I think a person can say "No" in an agreeable way and say "yes" even when some part of them doesn't want to, as long as they are conscious of what they are doing and why; it's called "external considering." The important part is to be conscious.

But for many people - and I go through it myself from time to time - just being able to say "no" at all is a big hurdle. So learning how to do it and figuring out that you won't die from it comes first; being conscious of being able to say "yes" or "no" depending on the specific situation can come after.
 

Yas

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I'm almost done with this book and so far I liked it. Even if the author seems a bit too much like all those other self-help authors, he manages to put some concepts and understandings in very simple language as well as give very practical examples that can give useful insight.

For me, one of the most interesting things was to notice that making nice is actually trying to force a reaction in other people, it's about control and having expectations about how other should react. So no wonder that what happens is normally that people like one less because of it. It's like interacting with someone who is constantly asking for one's validation even if implicitly. And many people just don't like it when someone is trying to manipulate them into "linking" him/her... even when it might not be voluntarily done.

There's also much to say about the fact that trying to "be nice" means hiding and not wanting to show who you really are, and that has to do a lot more with pride than what we tend to think. We don't want people to see the less-than-perfect aspects of ourselves and that certainly isn't conducive to truthful deep relationships with others... people don't know who you are, people don't open up if you don't open up too, and so on.

And there are some nuances here too. Because I don't really sympathise with the simplistic psychological advice saying that "you should just be yourself" and all that. I think that there's a lot of value in wanting to be better, not just "yourself", and there's a lot of value in doing our best to change what is also part of ourselves that needs to be changed. But the key might be to "own" "who we are" first, good and bad, and that implies going beyond that "be nice" program and acting more in accordance to who we truly are without hiding what we don't like about ourselves to get everyone's approval... or to feel better about ourselves, or because that's what we've been taught to do... etc. It implies "putting our skin in the game" and taking some risks too. And that's living, actually.

Related to this, the author dedicates a section to "owning the shadow". Yes, that's Jungian and he even mentions Freud quite a lot, but I think that what he says is very down-to-earth and interesting. He doesn't go into an incomprehensible notion of what the shadow is or into Freud's theory in depth. He only says something like: We are animals too after all. We have impulses which come from our animal parts and reactions that come from our animal legacy, such as anger, sexual drive, pleasure and avoidance of pain. We learn to repress this which is not bad, but these are also our strongest motivators (reminded me of Haidt's elephant). The "be nice" program is much about hiding all of this, and normally it's about hiding it from ourselves because we're so identified with what we think we should be to "be nice" (or seem nice). Basically, we end up believing we're such good people by hiding these aspects from ourselves, but it comes up as anxiety, depression, injury, pain, disease and bad relationships in general. Instead, we need to acknowledge these parts of ourselves and own them, carefully harnessing their power as you will harness the power of any raw energy source -it's not about just letting it all run free and cause havoc, it's about knowing that it's there, acknowledging it and harnessing its power for what it's necessary, like being assertive in situations when it is required and so on.

It's also interesting that he suffered from something similar to an autoimmune condition and he emphasizes how these "chronic diseases" sometimes have a lot to do with with emotions. He also mentions a tiny bit about how he researched the gluten-free diet and things like that.

Good recommendation 987baz!
 

Pashalis

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Thank you for opening this thread! I've just started to read the book and so far it is a real eye opener. It ties in perfectly with Jordan Petersons stands on how "being nice" is more often then not simply a low level, extremely fear based, defense mechanism that has very little per se to do with being "a good, or virtues person". In fact, as both Peterson and Dr. Aziz point out clearly and convincingly, the nicer a person usually is, the more anger and resentment that person is accumulating and carries around, which has a direct negative and repelling impact on the life of the person and everyone around them. I think the author makes it very clear that many people, and it seems to be on a sharp increase, get raised and instilled in them, that being a nice, obedient people Pleaser is what is good while in fact it makes the life of the person and those around a living hell. And that is so, so true!

It is also shocking to understand how very little in some cases is needed to instill this program in children depending on their makeup, and how truly difficult it is, especially nowadays, for any parent to not engage in that horrendous cycle.

On the face of it, the title and promise of the book seems to be contra intuitive since when has "Nice" become bad? Believe me though, the author has very good and important points to make. I also agree with the author that this being nice and obedient has most often deep roots in childhood and that for most people, this is one of the hardest things in life to work against. I think for many people this is a primary lesson, also in regards to "the work". I find it particularly good that the author speaks from a position of someone who was deep in the "be nice mode" himself for years and slowly dug himself out of that horrible pit. So obviously he knows what he is talking about and in what living hell one is living when being ruled by this program. If one is blessed of not being subjected by this program so strongly as many people do, it is almost impossible for them to grasp the sheer despair, suffering and internal consideration that goes with it every single day. When one happens to have that program and consciously works against it, it really is something very, very hard to overcome and realize. I also think the author is right that it is impossible to ever get truly free of it, but one can develop a stronger "I" that is in control of it, rather then "it" being in control of the "I".

I was thinking that some pretty few people seem to be blessed with an upbringing that hasn't instilled this pattern in them while most others have got it to one extend or the other. I also think that from a broader perspective, there might be reasons for why some people get "blessed" by it and others not. I think the C's idea of "all there is, is lessons" and that at a certain level we are responsible for, or seek out, specific lessons in our incarnations could be one of the reasons why some don't have to go through this one while others do.

From the little I read so far, I can say that he hit the nail on the head with what he has written there and that I can see more clearly now that this is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) program that has dominated my life as well, and curiously enough, the life of some of my ancestors as well. That book finally puts a number of things for me in perspective that I struggled with since childhood and couldn't quite understand. The descriptions he brings up of the tell tell signs of this program are true aha moments for me and I think many others as well. It is also interesting that he discusses social anxiety in the context of this program, which is another important angle that I've never thought of or heard of in that way before. It makes a lot of sense. I also agree with Chu's comments that in some circumstances there also might be more behind the "be nice" program than what the author suggests. I also agree with the author that the nicer one becomes, the more jerkish, resentful and selfish one usually gets, despite the fact that most people usually think the exact opposite the "nicer" they get. It also ties in perfectly with Samamows two books about the criminal mind and the book "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck". It also reminds me of how nice and obedient people where becoming prior to and into WW2 in germany and how those same "nice people" where then responsible for the most horrendous crimes imaginable. It also strongly reminds me of Samanows point, that usually, the more criminal your mind is, the more you think you are "a good or nice person".

Good work!
 
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Ina

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I used to have problems with refusing people’s requestsand saying no, mainly because of early home education, followed by school and then highschool and etc. What can I say, that was one of the aspects of the personal and social behaviour required in a communist society and my parents were ‘more catholic than the Pope’. Folowing the rule and other negative reinforcing methods thus created a self hating slave (obeying) and very confused rebel. I managed to partially corect the ‘no’ part years later after a course in personal development in assertiveness. The course did not change me completely in my own master but made me understand that for making decisions I needed information. A ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer always comes after a decision. If in doubt it is always advisable and perfectly justified to ask clarification questions seeking more information.
 

Pashalis

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I'm nearing the halfway mark of the book and I'm still very impressed by the content. So far it looks to me like a must read for many people nowadays and especially people engaged in "the work". The author continues to bring up aha moments for me and puts quite a number of crucial concepts like boundaries, false guilt/guilt Bubble, approval seeking and what it actually means to be "nice" and external considerate on the other hand, and what not, into concrete focus, in such a clear and accessible way, that I've never read before. He also makes a good case for what respecting the free will of others actually means.

It also causes me to rethink quite a number of things in regards to the work and how much of what I previously thought might come from my "real I" might in fact be just another layer of the "predator" disguised as "being nice".

At the later stages of the book the author brings up a whole host of exercises one can engage in to maybe step out of those nice walls and experience and engage in life quite differently, with a lot of conscious effort involved, that happens to feel very uncomfortable. I'm planning to read it through and then read it again and start with the exercises one by one, since I think at least for me, this is something that is of utmost importants.

Having said that, I think it is also easy to misunderstand what the author actually is trying to tell the reader, especially when one is new to the field of "working on thyself". What I mean by that is, that it can be very difficult to distinguish what is nice and what is actually internal or external considerate at any given moment, especially if one has been programmed to be "nice". I think it takes many years of hard work on the self to even be able to try to be in a position to really "see" in that regard and then decide what is best at any given moment. His take on physical ailments, pains and injuries (which he had a lot too) is also pretty interesting, in suggesting that many of those things actually stem from unresolved emotions and generally by lying to oneself.

He also brings up a number of interesting book suggestions that might be worthwhile to look into.

I think many people might at a first glimpse of the book assume that one has to be just more jerkish and the like, even though the author clearly explains that "not nice" is quite the contrary in fact. How to distinguish that, is and can be very hard.

I think Jordan Peterson is a prime example of someone who succeeded to step out of the nice bubble. I think his rule "tell the truth" is essentially also about overcoming that "be nice" programming that the author explains so well in detail.
 
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Pashalis

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If you happen to have the chance to listen to the audiobook, I would recommend that, since Aziz is doing a great job of making the issue fun and entertaining. If you want to practice some of the many exercises he brings up in the book though, a printed version might be better.

I'm starting with Chapter 11 soon, and so far, all I can say is, he is still right on the money about so many things. I'm very happy to have found this book at this stage in my life. He finally makes sense of a lot of things I never really understood and thus struggled with for years and I think everyone else to one extend or the other as well.

It is also a great addition to the books of Samenow and other recommended reading about human psychology.
 

Pashalis

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It might be worthwhile to quote some passages here for starters.

The book begins with an interesting list, which follows below. One might notice, a.) strong reactions to some of those points, or b.) thinking that some of it can't be true or not really true, or c.) that it rings a big bell or a combination of everything. Later on he makes it very clear what he means.

Unbenannt 3.jpg

Then in the introduction we read:

Highlights and Italics from the Original said:
DRIVEN BY FEAR, NOT VIRTUE

Nice is good, right?
It means you’re caring, you don’t hurt people, and you do the right thing. You put others first, avoid saying critical or mean things, and try to make others feel happy. Of course, this is all good, right?
Well, maybe…

After fourteen years of clinical experience, working with thousands of people from all different cultures, I began to question this assumption. In fact, I saw that clients who were trying the hardest to be nice people also felt the most anxious, guilty, and frustrated. They had difficulty standing up for themselves, felt obligated to please others, and worried about what people thought of them. They couldn’t directly ask for what they wanted, freely say “no” when it was the right thing to do, or openly disagree with others’ opinions, even though they had strong, well-developed beliefs. In short, they were trapped in a cage of niceness that prevented them from being their real selves.
That’s when I started to realize that there was a problem with nice. That it was different than kindness, compassion, and love. It wasn’t necessarily the same thing as being a good person. In fact, I started to question if being less nice actually allowed us to be more kind, generous, and loving people.

This idea was so opposed to what I grew up believing that, at first, I couldn’t buy it. I thought it was important to put others first and prided myself on never showing that I was angry. I thought being considerate was a good thing, and the world didn’t need more selfish people. But then I started to study nice, first in myself, and then in my clients, and I discovered something fascinating. Being nice does not come out of goodness or high morals. It comes out of a fear of displeasing others and receiving their disapproval. It’s driven by fear, not virtue. In fact, I discovered that being nice can make us secretly less loving and more burnt out over time as we stray further and further from our authentic selves.

You may have noticed this pattern as well. In fact, if you’re picking up a book called “Not Nice,” then you must recognize that there is some flaw in our cultural assumption that nice is good, and more nice is better. Perhaps inside you too are feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, anxious, irritated, or guilty much of the time. Maybe being nice is blocking you from standing up for yourself, being honest with others, creating deeper relationships, or boldly expressing yourself in the world.

But, to be less nice, or even worse, not nice? How could you do such a thing? Isn’t it wrong?
That’s where I come in. As you’ll see in the pages that follow, niceness and people-pleasing were my story, my cage, my curse. I know how hard it can be to break free from the tentacles of guilt and fear that keep us in niceness. I know how strong the commands of that inner voice can be. The one that tells us we’re so bad for hurting someone’s feelings or saying no. That others will be upset with us for speaking our minds, or leave us for being honest.

Despite what that voice of fear and doubt says, more is possible for you. It’s possible to regain your freedom to express yourself, to say “no” and ask for what you want without guilt, and to unapologetically be yourself without all the worry about how others will react. As you do, life becomes better and better, and all your relationships thrive. You are able to find and create lasting love, form deep and fulfilling friendships, and become a powerful leader in your career.
Breaking out of the niceness cage, however, is not a simple brute force move. You don’t just smash the side of the prison wall with a bulldozer and run free. Instead, finding your way out of niceness is more like maneuvering your way out of a straitjacket. You must wrestle with the old, long-standing beliefs that bound you with stories that it’s bad to ask for what you want, or that you’re selfish for saying no.

Part I of this book is dedicated to helping you see what nice really is and the toll that living this way is taking on you. As you see just how rooted in fear our nice patterns are, and how it’s different from being a good and loving person, you’ll naturally let go of the old beliefs that don’t serve you. In these chapters you’ll be wriggling around, pulling some Houdini moves to get out of your straitjacket.

In Part II, you will discover the five pillars of Not Nice: Have Boundaries, Own Your Shadow, Speak Up, Say No, and Be More Selfish. You will learn dozens of tools and strategies that you can use immediately to let go of guilt, fear, and hesitation. You’ll discover exactly how to speak for yourself, say no, ask for what you want, and take care of yourself without guilt and anxiety. These chapters are a powerful force for liberation that will unlock a profound sense of freedom and joy.

Part III is about living life on your terms. As you shed nice patterns that don’t serve you or others, you’ll need to reclaim who you really are. You’ll decide what is right for you, how you want to live, and determine your own rules. You will become the director of your life.

And Part IV, that’s about action. Activities, games, and other fun exercises are strategically placed throughout the book to get you into action right away. This final section will give you a clear step-by-step framework to put everything you learned into practice. You’ll also get to read some intriguing, funny, and sometimes painfully awkward stories from my own life about applying Not Nice as I wrote this book.

I am so glad you’re here with me, and I’m so excited for you. Going from nice and restricted to bold and authentic can transform all aspects of your life. It unlocks power, freedom, and happiness. It reawakens the lightness and joy you had as a kid, and it allows you to truly enjoy deep, fulfilling relationships with friends, colleagues, and the love of your life.
I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you.

With Love and Gratitude,
Dr. Aziz
Portland, Oregon
Then in Part I of the book called "What's Wrong with Nice?" Aziz starts out by defining what exactly Nice is in chapter one called "What is Nice":

Highlights and Italics from the Original said:
CHAPTER 1:
WHAT IS NICE?


What is nice? It’s a word we all know and use, but rarely stop to think about. Let’s begin by seeing your initial responses to the word. I’m going to ask you a few questions. Take a moment to pause after each one to notice your immediate answer—the first thing that pops into your mind.

Are you a nice person?
Would other people describe you using that word?
What’s your gut reaction to being nice? Is it positive? Something to aspire to? Or is it negative?

As you reflect on these questions, I would like to share something with you. Actually, it’s a confession. Something that may not be popular or right in the eyes of the world.
My goal is to get you to stop being nice. Not only that, I want you to change how you see nice so it’s no longer a good thing. No longer something you want to try to be anymore. My goal is for your internal reaction to change so that when you hear nice, instead of an inner “Ooh, that’s good,” you think, “Eww, no thank you.”

Yes, I’m trying to influence you. To persuade you. Not for my sake, but for yours. Because as you’ll discover in the pages to come, one of the biggest traps of niceness is the pressure to stay nice. It’s the idea that being a nice person is the same thing as being a good person. And behind that is the fear that if you’re less nice, or if you aren’t nice all the time, then you are selfish, bad, wrong, and terrible. That you should feel guilty and ashamed of yourself. Eww. No thank you.

Now, I know that’s a bold claim, and may be a tough sell. You probably have the same beliefs I did: nice is good. That it’s the same as kindness, compassion, generosity, and being loving towards others. That’s why we need to start with defining nice, showing what it really is, and how it’s different from all these other positive virtues.
Let’s get clear.
Now the short definition of Nice:

Highlights and Italics from the Original said:
NICE DEFINED

Let’s say you and I were heading to a dinner party together. You were my guest and you didn’t know anyone else who was going to be there. As we were driving to the party, just as we pulled towards the house, imagine I turned to you and said, “Hey, when we get in there, be nice, OK?”

What would that mean to you? How would it change your behavior?
Perhaps you’d greet everyone with a smile, or try to be warm and enthusiastic. Maybe you’d appear to be interested in what people were saying, grin, and nod a lot. Maybe you’d laugh at the jokes and remarks people made, even if you didn’t get them.

You might also avoid certain things. Perhaps you’d avoid interrupting, or speaking up before someone asked you a question. Maybe you’d restrain yourself and not make big gestures, speak up fully, or laugh loudly. If you were heeding my request, you most certainly would not bring up controversial topics, ask probing questions, or challenge others.
You’d be, you know, nice.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Do you do any of these things on a regular basis, even if no one asks you to? It might be something you unconsciously tell yourself all the time.
And here’s the really fascinating part. When you’re at this party, trying to be nice, what are you focusing on? Are you in the moment, speaking freely, spontaneously asking what you’re most curious about, and being fully engaged? Or are you observing yourself and others’ reactions? Are you watching your language, and how others react to you, analyzing the situation? Did they like that? Was it funny enough? Those two laughed, but she seems a little irritated by me. That guy by the drinks was completely disinterested in me. I wonder what I did that pissed him off?

This is what being nice is. It’s monitoring yourself to make sure you come across in a pleasing manner and don’t offend anyone. It’s making sure others like you and don’t have any negative feelings. No upset, confusion, boredom, irritation, sadness, hurt, anger, or fear. No discomfort whatsoever. Just happy, positive, approving thoughts and feelings.

At its core, being nice is about being liked by others by making everything smooth. No waves, no friction. It’s based on this (woefully inaccurate) theory: If I please others, give them everything they want, keep a low profile, and don’t ruffle feathers or create any discomfort, then others will like me, love me, and shower me with approval and anything else I want (promotions, sales, friendships, dates, sex, attention).

This theory is bunk. It’s an inaccurate map of human relationships. And like any inaccurate map, if you follow it, you will not get where you want to go. You will be lost.That, my friend, is what nice really is.

Let’s pause for a moment. Take a breath. What are you noticing in your mind and your body? Is this resonating with you? Are you having insights about yourself and how you show up in the world? Are you noticing where you’re holding yourself back to avoid disapproval or discomfort in yourself or others?

Are you skeptical? Is part of your mind saying “Yeah, but...”?
But isn’t it good to be polite?
I’m not going to bring up something offensive.
Are you saying I should start being a jerk or an asshole?


No. Well, actually, yes. Because there’s probably many things you would say and do when you are fully confident, authentic, expressive and free, that the inhibited part of you would judge as being “a jerk” or “bad.”

That’s just old fear-based nice conditioning. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that. But let’s take a second to clarify this question about being nice versus being a jerk.
Now the definition of the opposite of Nice:

Highlights and Italics from the Original said:
THE OPPOSITE OF NICE

The opposite of nice is not to be a jerk, or an asshole. It’s not insulting others, saying bigoted or highly antagonizing things, bullying, or attacking people’s characters. It’s not telling others to “shut up,” intimidating them, or pushing your little old grandma over in the kitchen.

The opposite of nice is being real. It’s being direct, honest, and truthful. It’s saying what you really think, expressing how you really feel, and sharing what’s true for you in that moment. This authenticity allows others to see and know the real you, which allows you to really feel love and connection.

Not nice means speaking up and asserting yourself, your opinions, ideas, and desires. It’s challenging others when you disagree, standing behind your convictions, and being willing to have difficult conversations. You do this because you want full contact with life and other humans instead of hiding who you are behind a polite wall of fear. When you do have conflict or disagreement, and you inevitably will if you’re being not nice, then you are as vulnerable, skillful, and compassionate as you can be in your communications.

The opposite of nice is knowing who you are, what you believe in, and what you value. It’s you being powerful and going after what you want because you are no longer held back by the fear of what others will think of you. It’s you being fierce, determined, and courageous. It’s you being your best self.

That means you are still kind, caring, attentive, generous, and loving. You still do things for other people, stretch yourself to give, even if it’s hard, and be the kind of leader, mother, father, wife, husband, daughter, son, sister, brother, or friend that you want to be.

But you’re not doing that to please others. You’re not doing that so no one ever feels a hint of discomfort. You’re not living in fear of what others will think, in self-doubt, in “Was that good enough?” and “Did everyone there like me?”

You come from a place of power. Of choice. Your inner mindset starts to sound like this:
I can choose to say yes, and I can choose to say no. I can hold back and keep quiet, or I can ask a tough question that challenges someone. If someone close to me is doing something that annoys me, I can bring it up and talk about it. When I really want something and the first response I get is a no, I ask questions and see if the other person is open to changing their mind. I’m completely free to choose exactly how I want to be in this moment, based on what feels right to me. I am the decider. I am the creator of my life.

I no longer avoid, walk on eggshells, tiptoe around, or do the dance.
I am me. The real me. And it feels good. I feel powerful. I feel free. I feel worthy.
This is the opposite of nice.

If you’re still questioning how this all works, and how being “not nice” can actually be a good thing, you’ll see exactly how soon. In fact, you’ll discover that the more you let go of being nice, the more kind, generous, and truly loving you can be. Because fear, guilt, obligation, and distracting self-consciousness don’t make you a more loving person; they create tension and resentment that limit your ability to truly give and love.
 

Pashalis

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So far it looks to me like a must read for many people nowadays and especially people engaged in "the work".
I'm starting with Chapter 11 soon, and so far, all I can say is, he is still right on the money about so many things. I'm very happy to have found this book at this stage in my life.
It is also a great addition to the books of Samenow and other recommended reading about human psychology.
It might be good idea to reevaluate the above praisings about the book and see if in the end, and in what way, it might just be too oversimplified and even dangerous, in that it could easily take people offtrack. Or worse even. It would be helpful to have more feedback on this!

I'm afraid that some if not many people could very easily misread what is actually in the book (or not) and might, for example, pressure others to be "as bold and truthful as they are" or "working as hard on it as they do" or "showing others how it is done". I'm still not finished with the book, and so far it still seems right about many things, but as I mentioned before about the book, there is a real risk I think for people to misread what the author says, especially for people who might not yet have had real insights about their own thinking and behaviors or are not really so much effected by this program.

This book seems to be good for people in some ways who have had some productive experience in "the work", or difficult human relations and the (often shocking) personal insights that come from it in general, and know full well that it is very hard to distinguish what is good or bad in any given situation, depending on much context and external consideration. But even for those people it might just be to easy to get offtrack by it.

For some (if not most, or all) people though, particularly the ones not effected by the be nice program, this book might serve, not really to grow themselves to be better people, but as a powertool, to justify and use it as a pressure stick on others who have real problems with it and don't have it so easy as they do in this field.

For really insecure people on the other hand, who struggle with this program strongly, it might just give them an escape route right into another "false I" while thinking they get more "unapologetically me" and "good".

I'm afraid that it seems to me that it is far to easy to get away with the wrong thinking/approach/behaving with this book, even for people in „the work“! It is strange though, since it appears the author is very clear what his definition of "not nice" is and what not. Maybe though, that isn't so clear after all for most if not all people, due to a myriad of all kinds of different programs running in people.

If one starts to get a glimpse on how nuanced and truly difficult „the work“ is, one also gets a sense of how, when trying to put this "Not Nice" into action (even for people who realize this and are "in the work") it can be, to act rightly or wrongly at any given situation, even though theoretically, what the author suggests seems reasonable at times.

Maybe the overall simplified message the book promotes is the real issue here, that makes it easy for people to just go "Ohh well, so I just be "Not Nice" in the future, and be "unapologetically me", here or there, that is easy!", even though that doesn't seem to be what the author suggest at all, since he states very clearly that being a jerk for example and so on isn't what it is about at all, but being more assertive and standing up for yourself and not caving in to thinking patterns like seeing yourself and others as victims for example, since this is basically narcissistic, in that it is putting yourself on a pedestal over others.

Maybe the other big issue with this book is that people can get away with the idea that strengthening another "false I" which unbeknownst disguises itself there as the "real I" (in this case "being unapologetically me", for example) is good, while in fact that just might be another layer of another "false I" that protects oneself from the "true horror of the situation" or getting to the "real I"?

One of the basic ideas in the work is that we can hardly trust our own thinking in most if not all situations, while the book sort of reinforces that you can, even though most often you can't and shouldn't. Maybe it is sort of putting the cart before the horse since you first have to realize deeply that you "can't trust your thinking" and that you are "not as good as you think you are at all" in the work, before even being able to approach stuff like this and be in a position to critically asses it and not take the wrong turn by simplifying things?
 
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whitecoast

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It might be good idea to reevaluate the above praisings about the book and see if in the end, and in what way, it might just be too oversimplified and even dangerous, in that it could easily take people offtrack. Or worse even. It would be helpful to have more feedback on this!
Hi Pashalis, I stopped reading this book around 80% though (chapter 12), since I feel like the author was starting to beat a dead horse. I tend to agree with all the points you made, whether they came from your "honeymoon" phase or or your cautionary phase with reading it. Especially with the idea that this book needs to be read in the context of a collection of other reading books, about narcissistic wounding, cognitive biases, criminal thinking, etc. And this definitely shouldn't be the first on the list.

This book imo is like a very specific kitchen appliance; it's meant to do one thing and one thing only, and that's reduce automatic and mechanical politeness, make-nice programming, and agreeableness due to too much projection or particular types of pre-verbal trauma. If that is a problem that you realize you have after researching psychology and understanding your machine, then this would be a useful book to specifically get over that.

Some people don't have this problem, and in fact do not have enough agreeableness and consideration for others. There were times where Aziz would give an example of him deciding not to help someone because some part of him didn't feel like it. Technically that does qualify as not being run by make-nice programming, but he still came off looking pretty selfish in a few situations. He even regretted one situation where he did, and this was a situation where just a little external consideration (i.e. keeping your word and following through with your plans, although your mood changed) would have actually made a better outcome than compulsively fearing that you were being agreeable. I guess some people are just where they're at though in terms of needing certain lessons.
 

Laura

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I read the list and sorry, it is way oversimplified and, in fact, some of those actions would be choices for STS, and once a person has made one step in that direction, the next one is easier.
 

mkrnhr

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I haven't read the book but I found myself criticizing most items in the table. Everything depends on context, and the conscious choices we make within the framework of each. Most of the items in the right column, when automatically applied, will make one a pathological jerk with no external consideration, not a strong indivduated person.
There is indeed a condition of maladaptive passivity that can be mistaken as to be being nice, but that's just having a weak personality. For instance, being nice/kind and assertive when appropriate (like being able to say no) are not mutually exclusive. One should be weary of cenrtain misuses of words, OSIT
 

Pashalis

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I read the list and sorry, it is way oversimplified and, in fact, some of those actions would be choices for STS, and once a person has made one step in that direction, the next one is easier.
I have to agree. For example the following items are rather troubling (snitched out of the full list above):

Unbenannt 3.jpg

Here is a rebuttal of all of them, starting at the first one (1-6):

1: In many situations it is a bad idea to "vulnerably express your wishes and desires" especially when you are dealing with pathological people or know that you have to deal with your desires yourself and not dumping it on others. And why does it need to be "vulnerably" exactly anyway?

2: Doesn't need much explanation since it is OBVIOUS that jumping in as early as possible without thinking, just so you can feel "free" in communication and "trust in yourself" is foolish, dangerous and downright inconsiderate.

3: Really? The work basically says something else that applies in most situations and it has a lot to do with external consideration and knowing when it is NOT GOOD to stand up for what you believe in a given situation, since there is "good and evil and the specific situation that determines what is what".

4: Really? The work pretty much teaches the exact opposite of it. In fact, if you start that route you can be certain that it leads to ignorance at best

5: Really? I don't think we have to say anything here since it is so obviously wrong and downright scary when you can "easily brush off negative comments". That is a sure route to strengthen/grow the criminal mind in a big way

6: Should you? In most if not all cases you should understand that you are not so "gifted" and know that you have to learn a lot from others.
 
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fabric

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I also read Not Nice and I wasn't too impressed. Yes, there are parts of it that could be somewhat useful but I think I ended up skimming over half the book. A lot of the affirmations didn't really seem all that useful to me with respect to the other things we've read. When it comes to cognitive and behavioral topics - oversimplifying and doing the 'pop-psychology' thing is not all that helpful to me and I think that is part of what turned me off. One's time might be much better spent reading Insight if they're looking for something not to heavy but useful and interesting.
 
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