Not Nice, by Dr Aziz Gazipura: one of those life-changing books
I loved this book. Not only does Aziz Gazipura, the author, live in Portland so he gets extra cool points, but his way of bringing mindfulness and fierceness and personal story to these pages really helped me get in my heart of hearts why this is important to me, and to most people I know. This book offers a full empowerment of standing in ourselves in a more confident way as we relate in our worlds.
Upon first glance, I wasn’t so sure I needed this book. I felt fairly sure that I had done a lot of work already around speaking up for myself and standing in my power. I’d already done so much work around healing the insecurity I gained from the complex trauma history. I had already worked on boosting my self-esteem and reminding myself that I matter.
Within the FIRST CHAPTER, I found my relationship to myself and others got a complete UPLEVELING. Right away I started to feel I was standing taller, more steady and solid.
I was struck to the core of how much I still moderate my authenticity and what I need and want on a minute-by-minute basis based on how much I cared what people thought of me. In order to maintain connection and feel like I could do no wrong in the eyes of others, I was barely breathing when I really tuned into it.
I had learned this in my family of origin - that the best way to survive was to be constantly tracking the way others perceived me and needed me to be in order to not lose my sense of safety, love or belonging. On some days it was really obvious and on other days, barely perceptible. This book showed me how I was STILL living my life in this same pattern with everyone around me.
It brought me lovingly to my edge of discomfort and saying what I really thought, felt and needed. It helped me embrace the parts of myself that felt afraid when standing more fully in my truth. It supported me to know on a really deep level that I’m not alone and that it’s absolutely possible to completely embody self-love, authenticity and standing in my truth unapologetically.
Another reason I wasn’t sure this book was for me was because I’m pretty known for speaking up and causing waves and didn’t see myself as a “nice person” or “people pleaser”. I tended to cause a lot of friction by outwardly expressing my many alternative views and found myself in a lot of uncomfortable situations on a regular basis. But what was happening as I was doing that was that I was secretly judging myself. I’d stand up for my truth but then shame myself. I’d change my mind and beat myself up. I’d speak a need in a seemingly confident way but then collapse on the inside terrified of rejection.
With all of this friction inside, I was pretty stressed out in my interactions. Wanting so fully to be my confident self but also playing out very old patterns of criticizing myself and living in fear that who I am is difficult, overwhelming and not ok. And therefore, unlovable. When I was speaking my truth while also terrified of being unlovable… people could feel that!
Since reading this book, every step of the way, I felt myself come out of that pattern and GENUINELY begin to express myself with full permission to accept myself as I am and to remember that I’m not alone in this process.
Aziz is also brilliant at walking the reader through healing co-dependency but doesn’t say that this is what the book is about. I love this because the word co-dependency tends to have a connotation with it that is fairly negative and daunting and only for “those people”. SO many of us get turned upside down in co-dependent patterns with our friends, families and/or lovers and have no idea that’s what we’re suffering from. His book normalizes these patterns and brings a much healthier perspective to the healing of these patterns than I have found in most books on co-dependency. I really appreciate how eloquently he did this.
If you’re looking to know what you want and need and be able to speak your truths and break all of the imposed conscious and unconscious rules you’ve created for yourself in relationships (whether big or small), I can’t recommend this book more. It’s packed with quality, heartfelt information from the beginning to end. I am so grateful to Aziz for sharing his wisdom with the world. And me!