Too often we confuse “nice” with being placating or dishonest. We think that giving loved ones in our lives a hundred chances is gracious, rather than recognizing that it is enabling to our loved ones and hurtful to ourselves. For many of us, our need to be liked, not upset others and/or to be seen in a good light, robs us of the fulfilling lives we all deserve.
If you struggle with giving honest feedback, speaking up for yourself, setting limits or allowing others to take advantage of you, then it’s time you change your story about what it means to be “nice.”
Nice really is:
1. Telling a loved one the truth when they ask for it and doing so with compassion. Sharing your truth — even when it’s a hard answer to hear — is loving, not mean.
2. Following through with your “no” because you know in your heart it’s the best thing to do. Saying no can be a tremendous gift to others as well as ourselves. Saying no to a second/third/fourth request can teach others to not take things or people for granted. Saying no to helping someone — when you know you’re overstressed and running on E — saves the other person from feeling your resentment. Stop saying “Yes” when you really want to say no.
3. Being honest about why you don’t want to go out tonight rather than making up a lie. One lie leads to another, which leads to another. Speak your reason with compassion, not deception. If they find out later about your lie, they will be doubly hurt — and rightly so.
4. Telling your loved one that you’ll help them with their problem instead of telling them they don’t have a problem (e.g. drinking, depression, etc.). The wisest part of us knows when we have an issue we have to deal with. So if a loved one is talking to you about a problem they think they have, don’t try to sugar coat it by saying it’s not really a problem or it’s not that bad just because you feel uncomfortable acknowledging it. Be a true friend and don’t try to placate them — instead, be there for them.
5. Letting go of someone you care for because they don’t treat you as though they care for you. Giving someone you care for countless chances sends the message that they can continue to do what they’ve been doing. This is a dangerous and hurtful message for YOU. Give them a chance to step up, but if they don’t, give yourself the chance of a happier life and move on.
In the end, some of the behaviors we think are “nice” are really not. Don’t confuse being nice with placating, over-accommodating or being a rug for others to walk all over. Be honest, be respectful and be compassionate in how you speak, what you speak and what you choose to do. Even break-ups can be a nice act that makes room for two people to find their true life-partner.
Challenge: Be careful about putting others before yourself to such a degree that you worry about pleasing them, making their lives easy, not having them be upset and having them see you as “nice” that you end up being mean to you. #FindTheBalance