That's a real one in your reflection
Without a follow, without a mention
You really pipin' up on these niggas
You gotta, be nice for what, to these niggas?
My anthem all 2018 and beyond is “Nice for What” by Drake. Not only is the single on track to becoming the song of the summer with its bounce beats, Lauryn Hill sample, and powerful women throughout the video, but it’s also empowering and makes you think—why do we HAVE to be nice?
As women, we’ve been socialized to shrink ourselves in so many ways, in order to make people, especially men, comfortable. We often overthink what we say and how we say it because we don’t want to come off as bitchy or intimidating. Personally, I often feel the need to downplay my personality, success, and passions to make others comfortable.
Growing up, I was the “nice girl.” You know, the eager to please, open-hearted, and bubbly type. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I often felt I was putting on a show. The only reason I acted this way was because I wanted to be liked. As I got older, the façade slowly drifted away, but I still had the inner voice of that little girl telling me that I needed approval.
I’ve had conversations with men that were intimidated by me because I had more education or experience in certain areas. Instead of moving on, I dimmed my light to make them feel “secure." I’ve had to remind myself that having standards is not wrong. Why do I have to dim my light to “let” others shine? Isn’t there enough space for everyone? My investment in needing to be liked was detrimental to my inner peace and authenticity. Today, I have no interest in anyone who’s intimidated by my ambition and drive. I’m learning to stop selling myself short for the comfort of family, friends, partners, etc. I’m unapologetically and shamelessly reclaiming my space.
My parents always used to tell me, “It’s not what others think about you, but what you think about yourself.” Sounds simple, but it’s still taking me a long time to learn. I’ll gain more respect by being unapologetically Kierra, instead of the version I believe others want. My daughter, Zion, will be a tough girl, unashamed and unbothered. I want her to know she doesn’t have to be the “nice” girl. She just needs to be Zion and that’s enough.
Here is the link to the Therapy for Black Girls episode that discusses niceness: SESSION 52: NICE FOR WHAT?