Today I choose to lay down my arms. “Ain’t gonna practice war no more.”
I’ve had some interesting conversations with my wife this week about my declaration to give up being Mr. Nice Guy. I know what I mean, but she’s not sure…
The positive sentiment behind the phrase “No more Mr. Nice Guy” is my intention to let go of the need for approval from others. Mr. Nice Guy is not an authentic person; I present this false persona hoping to manipulate those around me to simply like me, and approve of me.
The false persona of Mr. Nice Guy is an attempt to control my environment. That’s why I lied and cheated as an addict; I wanted to protect myself from others who would not approve. So it was quite a dance that I perfected over the years – fancy footwork that kept me ‘sedated’ and ‘approved’ all at the same time.
Once I got into recovery, the need to lie, control and manipulate lessened until I came to the realization that this Mr. Nice Guy routine wasn’t in my best interest. It just wasn’t necessary. But old habits die hard.
I still catch myself feeling resentment toward others, and I correctly interpret it to mean that I need to gain their approval somehow… which, of course, means that I must rely on Mr. Nice Guy to smooth things out. The problem with this kind of false front – a mask, if you like – is that it still hasn’t solved my resentment issues. Anger and fear is still smoldering in the background.
And I usually end up feeling hurt or diminished in some way resulting in more resentment. Unchecked, this resentment turns into self-loathing and depression. And the old tapes of “I’m not good enough” or “this will never work” begins to play again leaving me feeling weakened and uninspired. More and more, I realize that I am my own worst enemy.
So, saying goodbye to Mr. Nice Guy is a good thing. To put it in more positive tones: Saying hello to who I truly am, and gaining self-acceptance is the only natural way to experience serenity.
Good bye Mr. Nice Guy – hello Self-acceptance!