“It must be nice.”

That’s what someone said to me a while ago as I shared a particularly exciting experience. I was instantly deflated.

Scrabble Pieces Spelling Jealousy
There is a one proper way to respond to “It must be nice.” (Click to Tweet)

What they mean

No one ever says, “It must be nice” with a genuine smile and heartfelt joy for your circumstances. It’s always said with the intent to make you feel bad for your success and blessings, and to drag you down to whatever depressed level the hearer finds himself.

Each time someone said that, I felt judged. I felt like I had to qualify my joy. The voices in my head told me that I everything I had was undeserved and I knew what the underlying message meant in “It must be nice”:

You’re just lucky.

You live in a fantasy land.

I don’t want to hear about your joy.

My reaction

It would get awkward. So I would retreat. I’d stop sharing. My own joy would disappear.

And then I’d be angry at myself for allowing someone else to have that effect on me.

A better response

Until it hit me one day that there is only one proper way to respond to “It must be nice.”

“Yes, it is.”

Not in an arrogant way, but in a way that says:

“Yes, I’ve been blessed.”

“Yes, I’ve worked hard.”

“Yes, I’ve sacrificed.”

“Yes, others have sacrificed for me.”

“Yes, and I hope that my joy can spread to others.”

“Yes, and this is possible for you, too.”

Many people see a certain arrogance to joy, as though there is not enough to go around. Your happiness must lead to the unhappiness of others, they think. The only way to get ahead is to lie, cheat, and manipulate others. So if you are happy, you got there at the expense of someone else.

And often that comes out in “It must be nice.”

Don’t give in

Don’t let others strip away your joy. Don’t let them make you feel bad for success, blessings, and happiness.

Continue to share. Continue to bless others. Continues to live a life that recognizes that, “Yes, it is nice.”

Continue to believe and declare to all who are willing to listen:

Life is good.

I am loved.

There is fun in the world.

There is beauty.

There is joy and I have it.

Spread the word and don’t let anyone stop you. And when someone says, “It must be nice,” now you know how to respond.

What have you done when someone says, “It must be nice”?

15 thoughts on “It Must be Nice

  1. Joel Fortner says:

    I’ve experienced this too. I think something else you could say is “and you could have it too.”

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      I like that Joel!

  2. Let's Grow Leaders says:

    Matt, great post. It’s easy to over look all the behind the scenes blood, sweat and tears that goes into something that appears easy. I love your response.

    1. couldn´t agree more, and usually those jealous people are the one didn´t have the gut and the stamina to achieve something in their life, however small it can be. Depending on each person getting a job can be huge, for another person having a job is normal now they´re looking for a promotion.Just a few examples of whatever it maybe in life. For me, getting back into writing, creating a blog, follow on other interesting people that I can learn from and then apply it to my writing,read on writing techniques on genres the hole shabang, and then WRITE a lot, That for me is huge after a 10 year hiatus of not writing,plus I don´t have support nor from family nor from friends. Friends say is gay is not a job, and family…basically the same, they don´t say it to my face but you can tell. So excuse my french but fuck´em. I´ll keep going at it until I die, literally. What I love and what I´m not so bad at and can keep improving.

  3. Katherine Leicester says:

    I recently sold a piece of furniture to a lovely young man who had just moved out of his parents’ home and was beginning life. For some reason we got on the topic of life, and happiness, and since I’m over twice his age I told him that things just keep getting better the older you get. He said “really?” “Yeah, really.” Well, the people at work, man, all they do is complain about how things are and I hope I can have your attitude when I get older.”

    So, folks, be joyous! Quit complaining, and don’t back off of your joy.

    Terrific post, Matt.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Awesome story Kathy. Thank you for sharing. What a great attitude from you…and it was infectious.

      1. Katherine Leicester says:

        Your post was the catalyst for a great memory, Matt. Thank You!

  4. Tammy Helfrich says:

    Love this post. People typically respond this way when they feel judged or unhappy in their own circumstances. It typically doesn’t have anything to do with you or what you’ve said. Great suggestions.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Great point Tammy. I didn’t think of that but it is spot on.

  5. I agree with Tammy. I’m guilty of saying “It must be nice” many times. Usually because they folks are experiencing something I can’t due to health or finances. I wouldn’t say it to a stranger – and most I do say it to know that it is my heart wishing – but still…good reminder not to be negative just because I can’t “do”.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      When I am tempted to think it myself, I am reminded that I don’t know the whole story, either.

      About 7 ago I was obsessed with nice cars. I was starting to make money for the first time in our business and had the money to buy a “luxury” vehicle. And by “had the money,” I mean about 90% of my bank account…meaning I would have no investments, almost no emergency fund, but a sweet car that “everyone would be jealous of.”

      So if I saw myself in that car and didn’t know my story, I’d think I was a big shot. But the reality is that I would have mortgaged my future for it.

      Who know how much debt the person has driving it or what problems it brought. Maybe none, but I constantly remind myself that thinking “It must be nice,” is a dangerous and slipper slope to travel down.

  6. Jana Botkin says:

    When people say, “It must be nice to have talent” (in reference to my art career), I often respond with, “I bet you can do lots of things I can’t do.” The thing about my “talent”? The harder I work, the more “talented” I become.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Great point. IT must be nice to be able to do a triple lutz…I’m sure all figure skaters were born with that ability 🙂

  7. Jon Stolpe says:

    I often follow up my trying to minimize my great position when in reality I should be more thankful for how nice it really is. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Great Jon. I find it’s similar to when people say “Great job” or “You look great.” Often, we shun the compliment.

      I like the idea of taking it as a compliment or at least a reminder that we are blessed.

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