Most of us, at some point in our lives, are told, "Be nice!" Usually, this involves smiling and ignoring another's rude or offensive behavior. I ask you, why do we need to allow this type of behavior, and further, why are we discouraged from standing up for ourselves?
I witnessed a prime example of this the other day in line at the grocery store. We were all lined up to wait our turn, when a lady with a full cart walked past all of us, and started unloading her cart at the front register. I had already secured my place at the back register, but I turned to the woman behind me and asked, "Why don't you say something to her?" To which she replied, "I don't want to be rude." I was aghast, "SHE is being rude to YOU!" To which the woman appeared uncomfortable and looked down. I looked at the checker and we both shrugged. Why are we so afraid to stand up for what is right? Especially when it is our personal space that is being invaded? If it were me (and it has been many times), I would have politely gone up to the lady and said, "Excuse me, we are all waiting in line, the back of the line is here". Most of the time, people are embarrassed, because they simply do not know. Most people are not trying to be rude, and appreciate when someone gives them a gentle reminder. You don't need to be aggressive and confrontational.
The saddest example of this is when a child is abused. As I have said before, this has happened to me, and I was always "nice" to the men who invaded my most personal space. I never wanted to "offend" them, and I was being a "good girl" for going along with what they wanted. I was taught to think of others before myself, which ended up in disaster for me personally. Years later, in therapy, I was asked, "Why didn't you say no, or tell them to stop?" and my answer was always the same, "I didn't want them to be mad at me." I was literally willing to sacrifice the most precious part of my female body in order to "be nice." And that is where we have to draw the line. We can not allow people to abuse us, even if they get mad, and call us names (which has certainly happened to me in recent history). We have to feel confident in standing up for ourselves, because, if we don't, we are disrespecting the most important person, ourselves. If it makes me a "bitch" to tell someone that I do not like to be yelled at, or spoken to in an abusive manner, then, so be it. I will not allow myself to be invaded any longer, in the name of "being nice."
It is my most fervent wish that we can teach our next generation to say no in a kind manner. People seem to think that to say no is to be mean. This is not true. You can politely decline any invitations which do not suit you. When a solicitor came to the door, I politely said, "No thank you", and my kids hear this, which gives them comfort in saying, "No thank you" when they are offered drugs, or asked to compare body parts, or whatever the case may be. I am hoping that my example will empower them to say no in a way which is compassionate and understanding. I hear my teenager having these conversations with his peers and I am so proud of him. I hear him standing up for himself without being rude, and he is well liked at school, yet he does not "party" at all. Instead of teaching our kids to "be nice" to everyone but themselves, why can we not teach them to respect themselves, as well as others?