Day 3 of the blog tour… and onto a book that, despite the title, contains a measure of wisdom that I think almost ALL women could use sometimes.
No More Christian Nice Girl: When Just Being Nice — Instead of Good — Hurts You, Your Family, and Your Friends – Paul Coughlin & Jennifer D. Degler, PhD
Summary (from the publisher):
Be the Strong, Confident, and Caring Woman You Were Meant to Be
Tired of doing all you can for others while your relationships remain stuck in neutral–or headed in reverse? Paul Coughlin and psychologist Jennifer Degler show how being nice can harm you and drain the life out of your relationships. They explore the keys to fulfillment at home, work, church, and even in the bedroom. You’ll discover that emulating the real Jesus is the key to transforming from a Christian Nice Girl into an authentic, powerful woman of loving faith.
This is one book I wish I’d read even just six months ago. The concept of this book is that Christian women are so often taught to be “nice”, that “nice” is the only acceptable way of behaving, because that’s how Jesus behaved. Conflict, confrontation, anger, and standing up for one’s self (if it causes conflict) is no way for a nice woman to act, according to our example in Scripture… BUT… the authors point out that this is absolutely not the case.
Jesus didn’t avoid conflict, he got angry, he yelled at people, he stood up to those who asked things of him that he didn’t care to give or do for them, and he made a lot of enemies. But he also was good, which means he acted out qualities like caring, helpfulness, love, righteousness, and justice. And as Christian women, we have to stop buying into the “nice” description and be GOOD instead.
“Nice” gets you walked all over. “Nice” brings stress and anxiety because you’re trying to be everything to everyone. “Nice” brings eventual emotional breakdowns because you’re spending all this time doing things for other people that resentment and frustration will build to a breaking point. “Nice” means staying in emotionally or physically abusive friendships or relationships because you don’t want to rock the boat, or get anyone upset with you.
And in the end, the person you’re hurting? Is yourself. We’re not supposed to be “nice”. We’re supposed to be “good”. From my perspective, women from all backgrounds — religious, social, economic — are all susceptible to this “nice” mindset, and we’re experts at feeling false guilt when we say “no” to things or refuse to do something.
Until a few months ago, I was a “Christian nice girl”… and then I realized that’s no way to live. I started saying “no” to things, and gave myself permission to sit down and relax. I’ve always been one to stand up for myself — I don’t avoid confrontation — but in certain settings, I’ll sometimes wait until it’s too late to say anything. I’ve been in some bad friendships that I clung to because I didn’t want people getting upset with me. But you know what? Living that way, being “nice”, was hurting me. I don’t want to be “nice” anymore, I want to be GOOD. And that means acting in MY best interests AS WELL AS the interests of others.
The book also reminds you that sometimes this will be seen negatively by the world, since many people have a double standard for women and men. Men who say ‘No’ are viewed as strong, competent players who know what they want and aren’t afraid to go out and get it. Men get into conflict and it’s looked on as part of the way they relate, no harm done. When many women act the same way, they’re viewed as aggressive, heartless bitches. Unfortunately, that’s just the way the world works sometimes, and until the people around you realize that you’re no longer willing to be their doormat, you’re going to encounter this from some people.
I could talk for hours about this subject and this book, but instead I’ll leave you with a few links to some additional information about the book and the authors.
**EDIT: WordPress is giving me some trouble inserting links, so I’ll come back and try to do it later. I have a book excerpt and an author Q&A to link you to, but you can also reach them through the book page linked to the title of the book at the top of this post. Thanks for your patience!
Available now at your favorite bookseller from Bethany House,
a division of Baker Publishing Group.