I was the ultimate in niceness growing up in a somewhat dysfunctional home in a culture where being nice was highly praised and getting along was a supreme virtue. I couldn't stand to hear my parents fight, which happened regularly, so I went out of my way to not cause any disharmony. I always did what I was told and was the perfect Mormon (ie: "really really nice to everybody", hint: see the musical).
Without consciously knowing it, my goal in life was to make sure everybody around me liked me. The best tool at my disposal was to be nice to them. Subconsciously, I equated being nice with being a righteous person. I've always wanted to be in God's favor, and I still want that. Now I know that there is nothing I can do to get more in or out of God's favor. He loves me no matter what.
It was discouraging for me as young person to feel that people didn't especially like me because I was different. I just didn't know how to be someone they would like.
I was older before I fully understood that being honest, especially with yourself, is more important than being nice to others. Being nice without being honest is very false and it's soul destroying. I was destroying myself while thinking I was doing the right thing.
For me it's much easier to be nice and false with people than to be honest and really care. I'm working on that and I love how I feel when I'm honest with myself. I love to let those around me who care about me know the truth about me.
It's harder when I know that someone I love won't like what I have to say about myself and my situation. We Mormons are very good at ignoring the reality in our lives and saying the canned phrases.
I can feel myself developing a thicker skin and disapproval that would have crushed me before just doesn't matter to me. I've struggled with the balance of being sensitive to others and being OK with me.
I'm moving away from being sensitive about others, not because I care about them less, but because I can see that they just don't get it. So I can say in my mind, fuck you, without hate but also without allowing their opinion to hurt me.
I believe we have our own internal compass and knowing when to accept advice and when to ignore it is a very important life lesson.
Now I enjoy the soul liberating pleasure of occasionally saying, "fuck you", and really meaning it.