Author Topic: Becoming a less 'nice' person through meditation  (Read 482 times)

Geraldine

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Becoming a less 'nice' person through meditation
« on: December 16, 2017, 09:36:29 AM »
Dear All

This might sound like a really strange 'problem', but I feel like I am gradually becoming a less 'nice' person through my meditation practice. I have been on/off meditation for two years and when I found Vipassana meditation last October, I was hooked, and have been faithfully meditating every day since.
It has done me so much good in so many respects, but one change admittedly puzzles me a bit, and this is that I feel like I have become less 'nice'. What I mean is that I increasingly just speak my mind, am no longer afraid to say no, have become pretty thick skinned in cases where I really do not want to comply.
I have been a 'doormat' for most of my life, two years ago I went down with severe burnout and depression and had to see a therapist. One of the things she tried to help me with was to accept my rights, my feelings, and the need to protect myself. Although I rationally understand the concept, emotionally it never really 'clicked'.

This has changed a lot lately, to the point where I sometimes scare me. Don't get me wrong, I do not act rude in any way, but I stand my ground so to speak.
What is astonishing is that most of the time I do not even get angry anymore like I used to, and if I do I am able to channel the energy into constructive action.
On the one hand, this is really great, but on the other hand, I feel like I've become less 'nice'. Is this 'normal'? Does anybody have an explanation for what is going on here?
I just really wonder  :)

Thank you for your replies.
   
 
« Last Edit: December 16, 2017, 09:38:08 AM by Geraldine »

Alex

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Re: Becoming a less 'nice' person through meditation
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2017, 05:33:00 PM »
Hi Geraldine

What I read in your post is that you’re no longer automatically putting other people’s perspective above yours… seems very healthy and normal to me!

As for an explanation, I’m sure you already have some kind of perspective on what was and is going on, but here’s my theory…

Most probably you learned in childhood or adolescence that other people’s needs were more important than yours (from a role model for example or within a family dynamic with a (mentally) ill family member). Based on this assumption/rule you learned to automatically comply with other people’s needs and expectations, avoiding conflict, criticism and feelings of guilt, being difficult or unwanted, not being good enough. This became part of your personality… a pattern, a habit.

You survived, until burnout/depression forced you to to make changes. This is logical: how can you be content if your needs are not satisfied and people are constantly walking over you. So, you went to see a therapist and/or took up meditation. It didn’t completely click emotionally in therapy, but you became aware of the pattern. That you aren’t the pattern. That you have needs as well, that you’re entitled to attend to those needs and/or ask others to consider your needs. Probably you learned to experience (and let go of) sadness and anger, maybe also regarding unmet needs from your past. Feeling the anger, which was probably repressed, may have been liberating. But anger is also difficult, as it can linger for a while, especially if old wounds make you sensitive to other people not being sensitive to their needs.

Meanwhile, firmly acknowledging your own perspective and needs, you start to experiment with new ways of responding to people’s needs and questions. Learning to express your own truth. Learning not to automatically react, but instead to balance your and other people’s needs against each other and respond wisely to a given situation.

Even though you now notice a considerable change, there still seem to be some assumptions that lead you to the conclusion that you would be less nice. Maybe doubting if it's really okay to follow your own inner truth.
You know, I imagine you are still nice, i.e. you still have the ability to be warm, caring or generous, or that you are still sensitive to other people’s feelings. No longer because you think have to, but because you choose to, which is so much more precious.

On a side note, you may also expect this sense of self to transform further as you continue on your journey.


I hope my perspective helps you in some way.

In any case, I feel happy for you! ;)

Kindly
Alex

Laurent

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Re: Becoming a less 'nice' person through meditation
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2017, 06:59:15 PM »
This seems normal to me and i share your feelings. The causes seem obvious to me.
Less nervosity and emotivity, it is possible to say things without being uncomfortable, the importance of honesty and truth increases in a meditator's life, more than saying what people want to hear, the ability to see essential, through apparences, etc...
Be non harmful  ;)
« Last Edit: December 16, 2017, 07:05:11 PM by Laurent »

Geraldine

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Re: Becoming a less 'nice' person through meditation
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2017, 07:56:52 AM »
Dear Both

Thank you so much for your great and very helpful answers. I feel very reassured right now, which I guess was what I actually needed.
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, you've really made my day  :)

BeHereNow

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Re: Becoming a less 'nice' person through meditation
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2017, 09:12:27 PM »
Geraldine,

Thank you so much for posting this, I was never able to articular this as well as you but it is exactly how I feel as well!  I was always "nice" and liked by everyone, even though I was drowning on the inside.

Now, not so much.  I still feel bad at times if I say no to a family event, or choose to put my own needs and interests above others.  More and more though I am seeing that if I am meeting my own needs and, gasp, even doing things for myself that are fun and joyful, I am not being self-ish, I am being self-full,and from this place, I have way more energy to give to others without burning out or becoming resentful.

What happens over time is that the boundary between yourself and other people becomes more blurry, so when I am being kind and loving to myself I realize that this is an act of kindness to others as well.  If I am doing something "nice" but inside I am raging with resentment and anger, what appears nice on the surface is actually not so kind or helpful after all, and it tends to come back around somehow.

It is so brave of you to move beyond pleasing others towards authenticity... you will not regret it.

Much metta,
Paula
"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron