MR. NICE GUY IS GONE (Why Being a People-Pleaser Holds You Back)


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Most of us think that if we put other people’s needs above our own, they will love and respect us, and we’ll live a happy life. 

But the truth is that this never ends well.

When you live your entire life pleasing other people, you put your sense of identity and self-worth at risk. 

You start suppressing anger and resentment, which often leads to some form of addiction or destructive behavior. And then you end up unhappy (as does everyone else around you).

But when you take care of yourself first, you become more fully capable of taking care of other people. 

This doesn’t mean you can’t be a nice person. It means your happiness, self-worth, and sense of fulfillment are no longer defined by what other people think. 

Stop being a people-pleaser and seeking their approval. Be true to yourself and take care of yourself first, so you can better serve others.


Full Transcript

All my life. I’ve been a nice guy. All my life I’ve been Mr. Nice Guy, the nice guy. I don’t know if that’s how the people have seen me, but that is certainly how I’ve seen myself. I’m one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. That’s how I see myself. I always wanted to be one of the best husbands, I saw myself as super loyal, super supportive, super loving, no man ever loved a wife more than I loved my wife. That was my belief in my first marriage. That was my belief in my second marriage. That was my belief in my third marriage, and yet it didn’t work.

What’s wrong with Mr. Nice Guy? He doesn’t work right. Mr. Nice Guy doesn’t know how to be himself. Mr. Nice Guy is too busy worrying about being nice, making everybody else happy, and doing what gets him approval, what makes people think he’s nice, but it’s a lie. And so today I’m just having this conversation about the death of Mr. Nice Guy. I’m having this conversation with myself.

Mr. Nice Guy believes that if he is nice to everybody, if he serves other people and puts other people ahead of himself, if he cares about other people, even to the point where he’s willing to sacrifice what he wants, that people will respect him, people will love him, and life will work great. And it’s a great theory, kind of like great theories that aren’t true, they don’t work because it’s not the way it works, but it’s the way I was raised. And it is the way that countless men and women have been raised. Now I relate from the male perspective as a guy that this Mr. Nice Guy thing that if I support my wife, I make my wife happy, the happy wife, happy life syndrome is one of the greatest lies of the 21st century.

The lie is that if you make your wife happy, you’ll be happy. And yet the fruit on the tree says, “No. That’s not the way it is.” Happy wife, happy wife, happy wife. Trying to make your wife happy, number one it doesn’t really make her that happy. And number two, it definitely doesn’t make you happy.

And I see women do the same thing when they live their lives trying to please somebody else, trying to please their husband or trying to please their kids and their whole identity, our whole sense of wellbeing, our sense of self-worth, our whole sense of being okay comes down to if other people approve of me, if I take care of everybody else, I’m going to be taken care of. I know. For some of you going like, “That’s the way it is.” I’m like, “I know. That’s what I always thought it was, but it’s not that way.”

There was this thing that Jesus said. He said this thing like, “Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your neighbor as yourself.” Now, when I look at the way Jesus taught about love, love was not a way you felt about somebody. Love was the way you treated somebody. It was actually showed up in your actions. Love your neighbor as yourself. So take care of other people the way you take care of yourself. Put other people first, the way you put yourself first. How does that work? What actually works? It actually allows me to be true to myself first. Shakespeare got it. He says, “Hey, if you can be true to yourself, you can be true to everybody else.”

That’s not the way he said it, but I don’t speak middle English. When you take care of yourself first, when you care about yourself first, when you listen to yourself first, when you please yourself first, when you care about yourself first, you actually have the fullness to actually care about other people. Took me half a century, over half a century to figure this out. And so I am officially declaring today the death of my Mr. Nice Guy. What’s crazy is that I don’t feel mean. I don’t feel rude. I don’t feel disrespectful to anybody else. I actually feel an intense amount of love and care for other people because I’m happy with myself.

I’ve made moves in the last few months of my life that before I would’ve always considered way too selfish to make. And yet there are the moves that have given me a fullness and a sense of fullness, wholeness, and completion like I’ve never had before. And I know that there are people who judge me for it. It’s okay. I hear you. Thank you for sharing.

But the difference is that today I listen to me more than I listen to you. The difference is I figured out that the reason I burned my life to the ground over and over again was not because I was selfish, it was because I was trying to be too unselfish and ended up not taking care of me. And so all the resentment, all the things that I would repress, all the feelings I would repress or suppress, or whatever it is that I was doing, would eventually show up by me burning it all down. And I look at those that have built lives that don’t burn it down. And I’ve always thought a lot of those people were super selfish, super self-centered. And I’m like, “Yeah, but when you get right down to it, they end up being able to give more to other people because they’re full and happy.”

Happy wife, happy wife. Happy husband, happy husband. Happy human, happy human. The death of Mr. Nice Guy doesn’t mean you can’t be a nice person, not what it means, but it means no longer is my life defined and my worth defined and my fulfillment defined by other people seeing me as nice. Yeah. So what about you? How much of your life have you shut down trying to make everybody else happy? How much have you repressed much emotion, anger, resentment, regret? How many things are you hiding? Addictions, toxic behaviors that you use to release all the stuff you’ve suppressed, trying to make everybody else happy, trying to look good.

Because you know what? If people know the truth, they may disapprove of you. And of course you can’t have that. So you have to be perfect. And so we hide all of our shit, we hide it all. You got to look good. You got to be perfect. You got to sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. Selfish indulgence, closet that. Don’t let anybody know because if they know, then they may [inaudible 00:09:14] or they may disapprove. They may think you’re narcissistic.

You’re selfish because you actually have feelings. You actually have needs that need to be met, and you don’t want to ask anybody else to meet them because after all, that would be selfish. This my friends, is the trap of the Mr. Nice Guy. I don’t even know how to process all this. I don’t even know how to communicate all this, but I know that’s as I look around and I just finished reading a book called No More Mr. Nice Guy. Can’t remember the guy’s name. Dr. Robert. I don’t know. No More Mr. Nice Guy. Powerful, powerful book. We got to figure some stuff out my friends. You got to figure out how to get yourself full so you can help others before. So say hello to Leonidas asleep in the back or lounging in the back and find yourself. You matter. Your needs matter. What you want matters. So go get your dreams, create the life that you want, and the right people will come along and you’ll have more to give than you ever imagined.





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