I've always taken pride in being better than everyone else.
With a lot to prove to my Dad, I took every opportunity I could to show my distinction from other people.
Being nice was something I held onto. Being kind to everyone might be my greatest strength.
Being the nicest person in the room has always been a goal of mine. It has soothed my ego. It has kept me safe.
And it's been a challenge too. I've had to learn a lot of patience to be able to convert any input I get into a positive, thoughtful, generous response.
This ego-driven pursuit to gain the approval of others by being the 'nicest' has brought me to push down - SHOVE down - any parts of me that could have potential for being received as 'mean' - the ultimate enemy.
So, I keep it safe, calm, cool, and collected. I don't stir the pot, and I neutralize anyone who tries to.
I do this because I have always been rewarded for it. I love the feeling of being told I'm a good boy. I crave it. I need it.
This is where my wound becomes exposed. This is where I realize myself, and share with you, that my greatest weakness is my inability to value the approval I give myself - let alone provide it.
Put a different way, I have become so reliant on other people viewing me in a positive light - accepting me for who I am - that I have completely ignored developing my own ability to view myself in a positive light.
So, I've been walking on this never-ending treadmill, bending over backwards to do whatever it takes to fit the mold that other people are looking for.
Among the many problems this has caused for myself, I have come to a very specific one recently in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
I picked up the sport two months ago, and I have carried over my usual 'nice' tendencies onto the mats.
I will avoid trying to hurt anyone - even causing them discomfort feels disgusting, rude and mean to me, so I don't do it.
But, for the first time, I am starting to see how much this behaviour negatively affects those around me. When I'm practicing a move on someone, not giving it my all, they don't learn how to defend properly. When they fight with someone who isn't holding back, they have no chance.
And this can be generalized to all of life - when you hold back any part of yourself for sake of 'not hurting someone else' you're also holding back your greatness.
You're withdrawing yourself from even having a shot at delivering your best to the world.
I am slowly on the path to disconnecting myself from my dependence on others for approval of myself.
I am working to accept myself.