This year, as I was creating my vision board, I really wanted to focus on making changes to any toxic behaviors. I found a quote that stated “why being nice isn’t all that.” I immediately cut it out and placed it on the board. The words meant something to me and related to a lot of what I’ve been feeling in my own life. It was something I knew I wanted to take an actual effort to change this year. The more I thought of the quote, the more I realized that this is also crucial for my own self-care.
What’ve I learned is that being nice can easily translate into being a people-pleaser. You want to be nice so you find yourself saying yes to favors to please the person who inconveniences you by their request. You begrudgingly say yes for fear of the perception of you character if you say no. In other circumstances, you offer yourself to the benefit of the other person who either intentionally or unintentionally takes advantage of your offer and shows very little appreciation. When you’re too nice, you’re also easy to trust and give others the benefit of the doubt. Your niceness forces you to try and see the good in people and give them the benefit of the doubt.
This also makes you vulnerable and your vulnerability makes you quickly put up barriers and keep people at arm’s distance. Once you’ve given a person the entirety of the benefit of the doubt and they take advantage, the barriers fly up and you’ll forgive of course but you’ll never forget. Your relationships with people who have taken advantage becomes strained, awkward, and broken.
Here is what I have learned.
THIS IS TOXIC.
It is absolutely toxic to your over all well-being and self-care when your niceness is founded not only on genuine acts of kindness but also on a need to please people. I’ve come up with a few ways to end the nice cycle and focus on pleasing your self-care.
1. Remove yourself from the mile takers.
You know that old saying, “give an inch, they take a mile” ? If you have people in your life who are constantly taking a mile then it is time to distance yourself. I am not suggesting that your burn bridges and cut people out of your life. What I am suggesting is that you take a step back and set boundaries. You owe it to yourself to define your relationships and take control of them.
2. Understand that you can say no and still be nice.
You do not have to agree to every favor, especially the ones that inconvenience you. You’re even well within your rights to decline favors that do not inconvenience you. Understand that you do not owe anyone a “yes”, and no one is entitled to your time. Stop offering your assistance and stop trying to save people — save yourself.
3. Stop worrying about what others think of you.
A wise person once said “worry only about things that you can control.” I am not sure who said that or of its been said actually. Maybe I’m the wise person? ? Any who, for the sake of your peace of mind, it is definitely a good idea to only focus on what you can control. You can only control your actions, your thoughts, and your character. Unfortunately, darling, you’ll never be able to control what others think of you. It is definitely toxic to think that you can or to try to. So say no, change your mind, it is entirely your prerogative.
While you may feel that your purpose is to help others, it is important to not allow your purpose to go unchecked. You can still be nice and you can still be helpful, but be cautious as to toxic patterns and anything that threatens your self-care.
— Esquire in Love