How to survive as a nice person in a world that is not so nice

Woman on white couch, crying, wearing blue jeans and grey shirt.

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

King James Bible

The number of mean, cruel and despicable things done by people since there have been people on the earth is endless. The world is full of victims and victimizers. It is usually the nice guy or gal that ends up being stepped on and taken advantage of by some asshole or another. If the mean and cruel don’t flat out kill your body, they will kill your soul by destroying you emotionally and spiritually, making you less of the nice person you once were and possibly turning you into one of them.

As a nice person you are usually trusting of others. You like to help others and perhaps feel guilty when you don’t. Doing and saying mean things to others doesn’t cross your mind, and even if it does, doing them to others wouldn’t come naturally to you. You don’t speak and do ill to others. Taking advantage and abusing others is not in your nature. You have a live and let live mentally, for you are the type of person that makes the world a better place. The world needs more people like you.

Unfortunately the world has more people that are the opposite of what I just described. I hate to say it but the world’s natural inclination is to turn out people who will use and abuse others when they can. The toxic, negative and mean people have a way of eviscerating the nice guy or gal. If you are one the nice and kind people of the world and you don’t learn how to properly cope, it will destroy you by manifesting in illness or you will become one of them.

This blog post is for the nice people like you and I. It won’t give you all the answers you need because I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, I just know few things from either my experience or from what study I have done on the topic. Hopefully this post will be enough to help make your survival in this mean world a lot more possible.

Know yourself

“When there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm.”

African Proverb

The first step in surviving in a cruel and vicious world is to have as deep of an understanding of yourself as you possibly can. Before you can understand other people and how they manipulate and take advantage of you, you have to understand yourself.

You need to know what you hate, what you love, what motivates you, what you feel guilty about and what your darkest fears and desires are. You need to know what “buttons” toxic and cruel people can use to trigger you and have some possible defenses against those manipulative controls. Don’t think for one second that the mean and cruel personalities of the world won’t exploit your weakness when they can. The less you understand who you are and what triggers you, the more these people can take advantage.

There is an African proverb that I really like that I think sums up what I am saying here; “When there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm.” In other words, what’s negative in you can be taken advantage of by the negative people in the world. Just like a hacker can exploit a software vulnerability to do take control of a operating system or do harm, your character flaws, weaknesses, etc., can, and will, be used by mean people to take control and do harm to you.

So, understanding yourself won’t happen overnight but it is one of the most important things you can do to keep the as*holes in life from turning you into one of them or driving you crazy. You will need to do some deep soul searching to really discover who you are. I can’t really say what your soul searching will entail, but it could be spending a lot of time alone, meditation, reflecting deeply on your childhood and other moments in your life, perhaps prayer or all of the above. Whatever you do, keep your heart and mind open to your discovery within.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”


Don’t hate the hurter

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The number one way the mean people of the world destroy the nice and kind people, whether they consciously know it or not, is through hate. They will say and do mean and despicable things to you, you will hate them for it, and the more you hate them, the more they destroy you spiritually, mentally and emotionally. It gives them a certain power over you. Also, they will eventually destroy you physically because if your hatred of them goes unresolved for too long, it will fester and it could manifest itself in illness.

Their crap gets inside you and it takes away your happiness and joy. When they do what they do to you, you become less you and more them – in other words, you become less of the nice person you were. If you don’t resolve this hatred and let it go, it will eventually manifest itself in some illness, as I mentioned earlier, or you will become just another one the mean and cruel people in the world creating your own victims. It’s a vicious cycle.

I don’t claim to have all the answers on how to forgive the toxic, negative people who have done you dirty, but I do know that just being deeply aware that you hate them, what they have done to you and how they make you feel is an important first step.

Certain meditation exercises can help you see your resentments towards others and gain the awareness you need to help let it go. Prayer to God, is also important because it will help you to not hate the hurters in your life. Asking God to help you forgive them is also a good idea. You may also consider talking with certain people about what was done to you to get the painful experiences off your chest because it can be very helpful at times.

Focus on the positive

Positive mind, positive vibes, positive life me. Words written on napkin by coffee cup and pen.

Life tends to give you more of what you focus on. I have noticed with people who whine and complain a lot will often find that life will give them more things to complain about. For example, people who always complain about not having money tend to frequently be broke. A wife complaining about what a no good, rotten jerk her husband is will increasingly have more, and more things to complain about with her husband. It’s like the more they complain, the more they focus on what’s wrong, the more life gives them of that negative situation. Dwelling on the negative of a situation puts out a kind of energy in the universe and the universe returns more of it. The more the universe gives you of that negative energy you put out, the more you complain and dwell on it, the more it gives you in return and it becomes a kind of feedback loop.

So, having said all that, why not focus on what’s going right in your life and what you want to see more of. It’s hard to be a nice person if you are pissed off, angry and negative about whatever is going on in your life. You must remain positive to attract more positive in your life. Being positive, is one of the things that separates the nice people from the mean people of the world.

Positive daily affirmations can help you focus on the positive in your life. Positive affirmations are key because they help counteract the negative thought processes going on in your mind. Positive affirmations are often used by many of the world’s most successful people such as Denzel Washington and Jennifer Lopez.

Express gratitude

“A moment of gratitude makes a difference in your attitude.”


Being grateful goes hand-in-hand with being positive. Just like focusing on the positive in life will tend to attract more things to be positive about, expressing gratitude for what you have, even if it’s not much, tends to give you more to be grateful for. The universe will tend to bless you with more and more to be grateful for when you express gratitude for what you have and to others who have helped you. And believe it or not, research shows that grateful people are generally happier about life.

I’ve noticed in my own dealings with the mean spirited and hateful people of the world that they are often the most ungrateful people I have ever met. They take everything for granted. They are not grateful for anything in their lives – even the ones doing very well financially. They also are never thankful for those who have bent over backwards and sacrificed blood, sweat and tears to help them.

If you want to remain the kind and nice person you’ve been, don’t be another one of the ingrate nasty people of the world. Being grateful will attract more positive in your life that will make you a happier person and distinguish you from the not so nice of this world.

Learn more about the power of gratitude here: Too Blessed to Be Stressed and Why Gratitude is So Powerful in Transforming Your Life

Be careful about feeling guilty

“When you are guilty, it is not your sins you hate but yourself.”

Anthony de Mello

Feeling guilt is a natural human emotion for having done something wrong and hurtful to others. It is your conscience trying to tell you something. It’s your conscience telling to you that you messed up. The more guilty you feel about a certain thing, the more of a nice person you are generally speaking.

The victimizers and mean people causing you the most pain and drama in your life don’t feel guilt for what they are doing to you. It’s like they’ve learned how to kill their conscience or suppress it somehow. In fact, if they listened to their conscience, if the guilt for what they are doing to others affected them, they wouldn’t be a mean and toxic person anymore.

The reason why you, as a nice person, should be careful about feeling guilty is because the toxic people in your life will often use your guilt against you. The really clever ones know guilt is a powerful emotion they can use to their advantage. They will use guilt trips to make you feel sorry for them and/or their situation – often as a tool to manipulate you to do their bidding or from saying “screw you!” and walking away.

The mean people of the world, with their unthinking cruelty will have you hate them so much and have you so angry, that you will lash out by doing things you normally wouldn’t do. Afterwards you will feel guilty for what you did or said. You will also feel upset with yourself for having lost control. Since you are truly a good person on the inside, you will become more and more of an unhappy person and it will take a toll on you emotionally, mentally and eventually physically. When it takes its toll on you physically, it will manifest in some health problem or another. The guilt will destroy you, but not them.

Knowing that guilt can be used as a tool to manipulate and eventually destroy you is just another reason why I say you have to Know Yourself!. You need to understand this about yourself and how it can be used against you. Often being aware of this will make it harder for people to use it against you.

Be careful about pleasing people

“If you try to please all, you please none.”


Another aspect of your personality that the bad will exploit to their advantage is if you are a people pleaser. Many nice people have this belief that it is important for people to like them because they want their approval. But when you try too hard to please others, it has several dangers that work against you.

First off, when you try too hard to please others, some people will see you as a fake person. They won’t see you as your own man, or woman, with your own goals and identity. Some people may lose respect for you as a result. So there’s that.

Second, as a people pleaser you will be causing unnecessary stress for yourself because you will always be trying too hard to get others approval and you will always wonder if your actions are good enough. Also, you will eventually resent those you are trying to please because you will feel you are becoming less you, and more of them. You will spend all your time pleasing others while not pleasing yourself and you will hate them for it on some level.

Lastly, as a nice person, if you are like this, the toxic, corrupt, mean people of the world will use this character flaw to take advantage of you. And, if there are any people in the world you should not try to please, they are the bad people. The bad and mean people of the world won’t appreciate it anyway and you will severely resent them for it.

Don’t fight fire with fire

“If everyone fought fire with fire, the whole world would go up in smoke.”

Lemony Snicket

Cruel and hateful people employ all kinds of tactics to manipulate, take advantage and make your life miserable, some of which I talk about in my blog post 11 Signs of an emotionally manipulative personality. So, your natural inclination might be to do unto them as they have done unto you, but for the nice guy/girl that won’t work for you for a couple of reasons.

You are the nice and kind spirited soul after all and fighting back against your tormentors, in the long run will end up destroying you because you will feel guilty for doing so. You have a conscience, they don’t. Your enemies may be surprised to see you retaliate against them with the same tactics they employ, and those tactics may work for a time, but ultimately you likely do more harm to yourself than them.

Next, the mean people of the world are better at being mean than you. They are better at hurting and taking advantage than you, so in the end when you engage in a battle with them employing the methods they use, they are likely to win. However mean you might be able to be, they know how to be meaner.

Even if you do succeed at using their crap against them, then you face the danger of no longer being the nice guy/girl you once were. If you do defeat them with their own cruelty and meanspiritidness, that means part of their personality, their nature, has gotten into you. And although you won against them using their tactics, you are no longer the kind spirit you once were, so the bad person ultimately won against you in a different sort of way. Not to mention that you come off looking like the bad guy in the eyes of others, so there’s that.

Now, I am not saying you turn the other cheek, 100% of the time and never, under any circumstances fight back, it’s just that you have to do it in the right way. I will talk about that later.

Be more aggressive, but in a nice way

You probably heard the saying that “the nice guy finishes last.” You see, as the nice guy/girl you are too concerned about doing the right thing, you don’t know how to offend and hurt others. Your philosophy is live and let live. Taking advantage doesn’t come naturally to you, largely because you are too scared or timid to do anything. As a result of your meek nature, you sit on the sidelines while others step up, take what’s theirs – and what’s yours. By the time you realize you should do something it’s often too late.

I don’t claim to have a magic solution for how to overcome this. But you must learn to be more aggressive without being like the nasty people out there. You have to learn how to step outside your comfort zone (which a lot of nice people have a hard time doing) to get and protect what’s yours. You might consider regularly engaging in activities that force you to get out of your comfort zone to help condition you for this.

What your comfort zone is depends on who you are. For example, if you are afraid of crowds, large gatherings of people, then force yourself to engage in more social activities. Bringing a friend or family member with you might help until you are comfortable going alone. Whatever your comfort zone is, learn to step outside it. It will definitely help when the time comes to be more aggressive.

The last thing I want to say about overcoming your nice person tendency to not be aggressive is that you shouldn’t worry too much about what others think about you. Life will continue to pass you by while you’re too worried about seeking the approval of others and worrying about what others think. If your aggressiveness is to further your life goals or defending what’s yours, and you are not taking advantage of others, then don’t feel guilty about it and do what you need to do.

Continue to do nice things for others

“Kindness means taking your positive energy and spreading it to the world around you.”


Obviously a distinguishing trait of the nice is that they do nice things for others. As you get older, and suffer some of the slings and arrows of life, you tend to get more cynical and bitter about what you have seen and been through. Doing nice to others is one of the things that made you a kind and loving person early on, before you were beat up by life. You shouldn’t lose sight of the value of doing a kind act for others. Of course you shouldn’t do nice things for people to seek their approval. Also, you shouldn’t do nice acts for everyone, all the time, especially if you really aren’t able.

You should do nice things for others as a way of playing it forward for all the times someone did something nice for you. Your kind acts will spread good karma in the universe. Being nice helps to remind yourself of the person you truly are, and because it is the right thing to do. Besides, there are enough people in the world who only think about themselves looking to take advantage of whoever they can, because they can. So make the world a better place by not being one of them and spread some kindness.

Positive, emotional defense affirmations

“You mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts your life will start to change.”


Don’t underestimate the power of positive daily affirmations. An affirmation is a positive acknowledgement of something to be true. It is repeated daily to yourself, and it is a way of counteracting the negative thought processes going in your mind. Positive daily affirmations are used by many successful people for general career and financial success, but they can also be used to help you combat the negativity that comes about from dealing with the toxic people in your life. Bad people will fill your head with resentment, anger and negativity that can be destructive to your emotional and mental well being if left unchecked.

Some examples of positive daily affirmations you could use:

  • I’m an emotionally, mentally and physically strong person
  • I am a nice person who people love and respect. I will continue to be a friendly, caring and nice person despite the toxic people in my life.
  • I am emotionally and mentally resilient and I will not be affected by whatever negativity life should bring my way.
  • I will not hate or hold hostility towards those negative people in my life who have done me wrong. I will overcome their negativity and hate with love and compassion.
  • I will continue to remain positive and I will overcome the toxic and mean people in my life by winning with success in life

The above are just some examples of positive daily affirmations you could use but there are many other affirmations out there and feel free to come up with your own. If you haven’t already taken a look, I highly recommend my earlier blog post What are Daily Positive Affirmations and Why You Want To Use Them to learn more about the power of affirmations.


Woman meditating in field by water, sun shinning.

“Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.”

Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

“The thing about meditation is: You become more and more you.”

David Lynch

I won’t go into how to do meditation or what type of meditation to use. I’ll leave that for possibly a future blog post, but if you want to know more on how to do it in the meantime, there is a lot of material out there about the different types of meditations to use and how to do them.

Anyhow, meditation is an ancient practice, still used to this day, by some people for many positive benefits. In regards to being a nice person, meditation, in my opinion, is critically important in surviving the effects of the mean and negative people in your life. Certain types of meditations can help you to better understand what type of person you are, which I spoke about earlier as being important in surviving in this world. Meditation can help you to see whatever hatred and anger you have towards others. You can’t overcome your hatred towards others, and forgive them, if you don’t really know it is there and acknowledge it. Also, there is a type of meditation specifically to increase your positive and loving feelings for not only yourself but others.

The last important aspect of meditation to remember is how important it is in reducing stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety, if left uncontrolled will eviscerate your mental and emotional health and there is no better way to keep that from happening than meditation in my opinion. Research has been done that supports this claim.

Just like daily positive affirmations, meditation should be practiced daily. Your ability to cope with the daily grind and stress of the world depends on you employing this important tool. There are numerous books, videos and articles about the subject, so you will do well to take the time to learn how to practice meditation.

Cut out the toxic people out of your life

I have written about staying away from the negative people in life a number of times in past blog posts. Everything I have written about thus far will help you to survive against the mean, cruel, negative and toxic people in the world – of course your results may vary. Having said that, sometimes the best solution in dealing with some people is to cut your losses and walk away if you can. Some people are so despicable, so destructive to your emotional and mental wellbeing that the only solution is to not even bother with them.

This could mean quitting that job with the evil taskmaster of a boss or not hanging out with that one friend who pretends to be your friend but is secretly undermining you or possibly getting out of that relationship with that, soul sucking, significant other that is too much to deal with.

Yes, what I am saying is often easier said than done. It’s not so easy to leave that job when your ability to pay your mortgage is dependent on it. It’s not so easy to leave that spouse when you have alimony and kids to think about it. So I don’t make this suggestion lightly and you shouldn’t make the decision lightly either. Walking away from certain people is something you need to do a lot of thinking and soul searching about before you make your decision.

It’s a sad reality, but some people, no matter what you do, you’re not gonna win against, especially if you want to continue to be a nice guy/girl and survive with your sanity intact.

Stand up for yourself

Two men confronting eachother, arguing in meeting with other people watching.

“Stand up for yourself. Never give anyone permission to abuse you.”

Lailah Gifty Akita

“Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.”

Maya Angelou

If you can’t walk away, then at some point you have to stand up for yourself. Believe it or not, you can still stand up for yourself against that bully in your life and still remain a nice person. You can still battle the monster in your life without becoming the monster.

Other blogs and articles will tell you everything you need to do to survive against the toxic people in life and stop short of telling you about the need to stand up for yourself.

A part of you will feel like you are dying every time someone walks over you and you do nothing. It’s like a famous quote from Ernest Hemingway in which he says that a coward dies a thousand deaths. You need not be another one of the many cowards out there. Standing up for yourself will definitely force you to step outside your comfort zone, but doing so will help you to grow.

It is important to know that when you are standing up for yourself, it may be tough overcoming the fear you will experience, especially if you are not the confrontational type, which most nice people are. I know overcoming your fear of confrontation is easier said than done, but it can be done with time because doing the thing you fear will make it go away eventually. Also, awareness is vital in overcoming fear. Being highly aware and acknowledging the fact that you are afraid and how it makes you feel is important in overcoming it – mindfulness meditation may help with this. Lastly, positive affirmations and visualization may help with overcoming your fear. You might consider practicing positive affirmation in which you positively affirm you are not afraid along with visualizing yourself as having courage.

In addition to overcoming your fear when dealing with the mean, the toxic and the despicable in your life, you must do so without anger and hatred for them. When you are angry, you generally can’t think clearly and will more likely make mistakes. When you hate the hateable you will eventually become them. It reminds me of a scene in Star Wars in which the emperor tells Luke Skywalker about how he can feel his anger and hatred and was goading him to strike down Darth Vader because the emperor knew he would become the the thing he hates. Yes, I know Star Wars in only a movie, but there is a lot of truth being portrayed in that scene there and it shouldn’t be discounted in my opinion.

When standing up for yourself, it is important to pick your battles because obviously you can’t go to war with your boss or significant other or whatever nasty person in your life all the time. Sometimes, like in the case of your boss for example, that confrontation could be detrimental for your career so choose your battles wisely. On one hand you have to stand up for yourself and not be a pushover, but on the other you have to weigh the costs of doing so. If you can suffer the hit, such as possibly losing your job, etc. then going to war is certainly necessary.

Lastly, one piece of advice I’d like to impart is that when the time does come to take a stand, remember to not make the classic nice person’s mistake by feeling guilty about what you said or did and don’t be quick to apologize (if at all). If you got to hurt as*hole’s feelings or deal them that decisive blow, then so be it. Believe me when I tell you that they don’t feel sorry for you for all the torment they caused you, so don’t feel sorry for them. Do what you need to do.

Certainly there’s more to standing up for yourself and being assertive I can’t go into. I’ve only touched on a few ideas to help you out. The topic deserves it’s own separate blog post which I may write one day. There’s quite a bit of great material out there about being assertive and standing up for yourself that I suggest you take the time to study if confrontation is hard for you.


So, those are my thoughts on surviving as a nice person in a cruel world. This is not the be all and end all, definitive blog post on survival advice but I sincerely hope you gleaned a few helpful tips that will help to manage when dealing with the toxic tormentor(s) in your life. With the help of this blog post and maybe other information out there, you don’t have to be the nice girl or guy that finishes last. You can be the shining example to the other nice people out about how survive, how to cope and how to thrive in a mean world.


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