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Issue #41: Embrace Grace

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If you’re a Nice Guy – there is a high chance this is you.

If you’re a reforming Nice Guy – the smart money still goes here.

I am going to explore a concept I have come to see as one of the biggest themes and challenges for every Nice Guy.

One of the major work-ons that impacts so many areas of life for the Nice Guy.

Sure, you have to work on letting go of the people-pleasing, the overcommitting, the conditional kindness and covert contracts. You have to work on the fear of rejection, the need to be liked, the amount of time and energy that goes into thinking about what other people are thinking about you.

There are many branches to the tree of the Nice Guy.

The voice of your insecurity
They all tend to stem from the roots that are a deep insecurity about being good enough, being loveable, or being liked.

Knowing that you are safe in the world is the underpinning soil that this root structure sits in.

And praise, approval, and acceptance (belonging) from others help you determine that.

The most present mental representation of that is the fear that you aren’t okay, that people won’t like you or accept you, and that you don’t belong.

Sure, there are some individual differences in the flavour of this. But that is commonly at the root.

So what’s the trunk?

The thing that tends to sit at the thick base of the tree is a pretty shitty relationship with self.

The everyday Nice Guy is incredibly hard on himself.

He sets high expectations of himself – often beyond what is realistically achievable.

In order to feel good about himself, to feel any sense of peace, pride, satisfaction, or worth, he must meet those expectations, or he is—choose your own flavour—[worthless], [useless], [a failure], [not good enough], [a POS], [not deserving of love/joy/happiness/ease].

He beats himself up for not being perfect or achieving, for doing frustrating things. Or for not doing brave things.

How you talk to yourself, view yourself, and engage with yourself and your life tells us so much. These things really give us a window into your relationship with yourself and your sense of worth.

The Nice Guy thinks that if he is outwardly nice to others he can treat himself like shit in his head, and somehow this will take him to a peaceful and rewarding place. Just so long as others don’t dislike or reject him.

All the while, rejecting himself.

All this does is reinforce the deeper belief that he’s not good enough.

He sets himself up to create evidence that appears to reinforce his belief about his worth.

It says, “In order to be happy/feel okay, you must meet these very high expectations.” And when you don’t, “See, you aren’t good enough.” And so, the cycle spins and spins.

Understand:

The thing about beliefs like this is that they sit deep in the subconscious. And that will only allow you to have what you believe you deserve.

If you have a belief that you’re not good enough then you also believe you deserve to never access that fully: enoughness, belonging, joy, ease, deep fulfilment.

Your subconscious will see to it that you never get it. It will ensure you only get what you think you deserve.

You’ll spin in fear of judgment, inadequacy, and low self-worth, waiting for the world to make you feel safe and okay.

It is a deeply passive and disempowered way of going about life.

And it sucks balls – I know, I’ve been there.

These behaviours and ways of treating yourself continue to produce results that reinforce the belief, and the belief continues to create the behaviours.

It’s the Nice Guy’s internal circle jerk.

But here’s some truth:

You can’t disrespect yourself to a place of self-respect.

You can’t hate yourself to a loving place.

The Nice Guy’s Mental Block

You might have this narrative running yourself:

You think that if you weren’t so hard on yourself, then you would fall into lethargy, ambivalence, and simply letting yourself off the hook.

Not caring. Sliding. No drive. You would appear to be worthless.

When in fact, that’s the other end of the spectrum. It’s miles away.

It’s the kind of twisted logic nice guys get caught in.

It says “If I expect little of myself then that’s proving that I have no/low worth”.

So if you keep up the super high expectations you will appear to be a man of worth. Even though it’s the cycle of disappointment and beating yourself up.

On the surface, it makes some sense—until you poke it a little, and we see that a lower standard is the path to achievement, consistency, momentum, and growth. It allows us to raise the bar as we are able to raise it.

What this is missing is THE #1 thing every Nice Guy needs to develop:

GRACE.

Can you let yourself off the hook, not because you’re lazy or don’t give a shit, or have low worth, but because it’s the most effective, honest, and mature thing to do?

Can you be kind to yourself?

Can you set yourself up to succeed, to progress, to build and maintain momentum?

That example above—lowering one’s standard—is the path to achievement, consistency, momentum, and growth. This is having grace.

Making it easy on yourself to perform, to thrive, to have self-respect.

Contrary to the nice guy’s initial thinking that it represents low self-worth, what it does is it allows us to raise the bar as we are able to raise it.

That is high self-worth behaviour.

It is an act of self-respect to create an environment where we can achieve, improve, grow, and progress consistently.

It is an act of self-respect to have the room and flexibility to stop, slow down, and rest if the situation calls for it—and not make an issue of it.

It is an act of self-respect to allow yourself to be human.

It’s an act of self-respect to believe you have worth and embody it through your behaviours.

This is grace.

I have seen every nice guy score poorly on this concept. Until we do the work.

Take the guys in my Zeus Inner Circle as examples. All of these guys self-recognise as reforming nice guys.

All acknowledged the challenge and history of being extremely hard on themselves.

And that this never worked. Not really.

All struggled to have grace.

These two things formed an accurate representation of their relationship to self.

Throughout the work we’ve been doing, they have been able to develop a reverence for themselves, a self-respect previously absent, a flexibility in their integrity that actually makes them stronger.

A belief that they are good enough – and the behaviours to match this.

This is grace.

Until you can change this internal relationship of berating, beating up, and unrealistic expectations in favour of a grounded, respect-based grace, you will continue to create frustrating and disappointing results in your life.

How to develop Grace

Work.

Do the work on yourself to understand why you do this.

Understand the roots of your tree; why you have these beliefs about yourself, why you have low self-worth, why your insecurities are there and why they run so much of your life.

Do the work to overcome this. To actually accept yourself. To move into a more peaceful relationship with yourself.

There can be a lot to it. But it needn’t be that hard.

But here’s the thing—if you are stuck trying to do this alone, and the environment is everything described above—hard, harsh, unloving, disrespectful, beating yourself up—then you won’t end up in a better place.

You will need others who can see past your bullshit beliefs and into who you are capable of becoming. People who can support you in putting down those beliefs and stepping into more grace, into more self-respect.

Into believing you have worth and acting accordingly.

It’s what we do in ELA. If you are interested in this, my ideas, and my methods, I invite you to check it out.

We have an intake open for enrolment right now.

Or find anyone and any place that resonates with you. And do the work.

But know this – this shit won’t change itself. You change it.

It also won’t change if you remain confined to your current echo chamber beliefs and limitations. So find whatever will help you break free of them.

I believe you can do that.