Do you often find yourself being nice and smiling through tough situations - even when your heart is telling you otherwise? Whether you encounter this as a traveler or just in every day life, it can be frustrating when you realize that your nice demeanor may actually make you vulnerable.
This week's Thoughtful Thursday explores when being too nice can't hinder rather than help you. Find out if you are too nice and what you can do to make sure that your kindness is not being taken advantage of!
Guest Blog Post by Christine Hassler
Are you too nice? That may seem like a strange question because most of us would think that being nice is a wonderful way to be. But sometimes we are too nice. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for being loving, kind and generous. Yet I’ve noticed that although niceness is very p.c., it isn’t always authentic.
We are often too nice when we want someone’s approval or acceptance. Or we long for someone to like us and think we are a “good person.” Or when we are in the presence of someone who intimidates us or is in authority position. Or when we just want to avoid confrontation. I’ve seen myself do this in romantic relationships, friendships and even business negotiations. The result? Externally I upheld the image of being a nice person yet internally I felt unfulfilled and like I settled for less that I deserved.
We think that being nice will get the acceptance, approval, validation, or peace we crave, so we repress our honest feelings and expression. Playing nice may seem like a good idea at the time, but if it isn’t real, it creates resentment.
Can you relate to playing nice when you actually feel dismissed, upset, not seen or misunderstood in some way? A lot of us do this because it’s scary to be vulnerable. We put our concern about the other person’s reaction or perception of us first. We put on a happy face and pretend nothing is wrong hoping that our niceness will provide the experience in a relationship we are seeking.
But what ends up happening is all the suppressed feelings stack up and build resentment inside of us. Not only do we start to feel resentful toward someone else because we feel like a doormat, we start to feel resentful toward ourselves by not speaking our truth.
So how do we stop killing ourselves with [inauthentic] kindness?
The answer is not to be jerky or bitchy. It is simply to be honest and vulnerable. Sharing our true feelings and experience is the nicest thing we can do for ourselves, and ultimately for others as well. And we can be honest in a nice way by communicating using ownership language and not blaming anyone else. For instance, “When you xyz, the experience I have inside is xyz” or “When this happens, I feel…”
Loving kindness is not about being a passive pushover. Loving kindness is about being authentic. Our authentic nature is Love. And Love accepts everything – all our thoughts and feelings are loved by Love. Love yourself enough to honor your experience by telling the truth. This is what will keep you from building up resentment towards others and yourself.
Resentment creates a block to the awareness of your true loving nature. Without resentment in your way, you are able to forgive others who you judge as not that nice. You will be able to love others in spite of their behavior. You will be inspired to act with loving kindness, which is the nicest thing to do.
About the Author:
Christine Hassler left her successful job as a Hollywood agent at 25 to pursue a life she could be passionate about...but it did not come easily. After being inspired by her own unexpected challenges and experiences, she realized her journey was indeed her destination. In 2005, she wrote the first guide book written exclusively for young women, entitled 20 Something 20 Everything. Christine’s second book, The 20 Something Manifesto written for men and women stems from her experience coaching twenty-something’s.
Today, she supports individuals as a Life Coach helping clients discover the answers to the questions: “Who Am I, What do I want, and How do I get it?” As a professional speaker, Christine leads seminars and workshops to audiences around the country. She has spoken to over 10,000 college students as well as to conferences and corporations about generational diversity. Christine has appeared as an expert on The Today Show, CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, E!, Style and PBS, as well as various local television and radio shows, speaking about life issues and “Expectation Hangovers®” – a phenomenon she identified and trademarked.
Christine is the spokesperson for Zync from American Express and the key resource for their Quarterlife Program which empowers young people to take control of their finances. She also created a life balance curriculum for the Leadership Institute and is a member of Northwestern University’s Council of 100. www.christinehassler.com