To the people who have been telling me that I’m not a nice person:
Thank you for noticing – I really do appreciate it. It’s such a drag to invest all this energy in not being a nice person and then to not have anybody notice it.
Many of my behaviors could still be described as “nice” (though I really mostly do hate that word) or “kind” – and many people do still think of me as “nice” or “kind”. But most of the people who know me best would, these days, probably have trouble saying of me “He’s a very nice person” without choking on it. They have seen me get in people’s faces when I think they are in my space, have heard me say “That’s bullshit”, have seen me cuss out old ladies (at Battery Park Apartments, there is no shortage of old ladies – or of old ladies who piss me off).
Being kind certainly has its place – but for me, it’s just a place, not an ultimate value or something I aspire to be all the time. Much more important to me is to be real, genuine, authentic – to have integrity. Thus the title of my yet unpublished book Radical Integrity – which I titled and began writing about 17 years ago. Integrity – realness, wholeness – actually is an ultimate quest for me. That’s why I have, for 17 years, been writing a book about it. (Hey, I’m a publishing whiz, huh?) And, when I am being real, genuine, authentic – am reclaiming my integrity – then it’s easier for me to be kind: kind or even loving behaviors just spill out of me effortlessly, without effort, without trying to be anything, including kind.
When you tell me I’m not nice, I may say “Thank you” – because it’s valuable to have feedback. Often your statement will confirm for me that I am on the right track – it will reassure me. Sometimes – though I do like the sound of “You’re not a nice person” – I may encourage you to speak in a more self-responsible way, to use I-statements. “I think you are not a nice person” or “That didn’t seem nice to me” or “I wish you wouldn’t use the word ‘Fuck’ or tell people to ‘Fuck off’ or ‘Get fucked’ or ‘Get the fuck out of my face'”. This kind of self-responsible speech is overall easier for me to hear and is healthier for you to use. Or I may encourage you to “Get the fuck away from me and don’t come back until you are ready to speak responsibly”.
And, if it’s really important to you that everybody treat you nicely and not tell you that you are full of shit, then please don’t get in my shit.