Growing up, I learned the golden rule from my parents: “Do unto other people as you would like them to do unto you.” They also taught me little wisdom such as “You can catch more flies using honey than vinegar.”
I am a very nice person. I can actually recall times in my past where I was way too kind, which I shouldn’t have. I must admit that I struggled with the thought of people not liking my, so I was friendly in situations I didn’t have to.
As I age, however, I have come to realize that it doesn’t really matter what others think. I live my life and try my best. This is how I see life in the free world. Is it possible to change this outlook in prison?
We now come to the topic of today: What happens in prison if you are friendly and kind to everyone?
Prison life isn’t about being nice. It’s about being strong.
Prison is the type of place that can eat you up and throw you out. You will be a victim of the desires and wants of others if you don’t believe in yourself and who you are.
When you’re in prison, it is essential to remember the phrase “you have to stand up for something or else you’ll be taken advantage of.”
Mistie Vance, a prisoner for 10 years, says learning how to navigate prison is much like learning how to navigate life. It’s all about balance. She said that she’s seen many people make prison life difficult.
Everyone has the ability to be kind and compassionate in prison, just as they do in the real world. However, most prisoners end up being more prideful than humble because of the constant battle for pride over humility. The ultimate goal is self preservation.
You will be taken advantage if you’re too friendly in prison
People who are too friendly in prison will often be taken advantage of by inmates with more powerful personalities. There are many people in the world whose primary goal is to have the best and most of everything. They will do anything to achieve that goal. Prison is no exception. A maximum-security prison will expose you to the brightest and most talented master manipulators. Every good criminal recognizes a victim when he or she sees one.
Being nice in prison is problematic because so often kindness can be mistaken for weakness. Because they are so open to accepting everyone, a person who is kind to everyone makes the perfect victim. They will do and give anything they need to feel accepted.
Unfortunately, their “friends” often move on to the next victim after they have given up. Victimization is also possible for those with submissive personalities or abusive parents. They will be bullied or “strong-armed” by inmates who have dominant personalities.
Each inmate has their own story. Many have experienced abuse in their lives, which has led to tragedy after tragedy that has broken and bent them in many ways.
Some inmates will choose to isolate themselves to avoid further heartache. Others may choose to be cold and uncaring to save themselves. Some people become more compassionate after suffering great pain. These personalities are expressed in an institutional setting.
You might not expect prison to change you.
Mistie’s 10 year experience in prison was a learning curve that led her to become kind and strong. Her relationship with God has taught her humility which eventually leads to a higher level of respect.
She believes she is right. But that doesn’t make it a requirement for everyone to agree with her. It is sufficient to know this within oneself, she says. This reduces verbal disputes and makes enemies much more easily. It is possible for her to know all the secrets of everyone and not need to gossip. This only hurts people in end.
Mistie, even after spending ten years in prison says she can still give and not get anything in return, she can love without expectation and she will stand by what she believes in, even if it seems a bit weird or crazy.
Mistie, like myself, learned to love ourselves during our time behind bars. You can only love yourself and give what you’re comfortable with. It is possible to value your opinion and not conform to others’, which can help you develop quiet strength that others will admire and want to imitate-even in prison.
It can have many positive effects on your prison experience if you are kind. However, the prison environment can be complex and can result in different outcomes depending on many factors. You must find a balance between being kind and assertive in order to protect your interests. Remember that prison can be dangerous and that some people may exploit kindness. You must set boundaries and be aware of your surroundings. If you need help, prison staff or trusted inmates can assist you.