So how come you’ve been feeling unappreciated lately? Your needs never seem to count. It’s not fair.
You take other people’s feelings into account. How come they run roughshod over yours?
When nice people compromise their interests in an effort to please others or to avoid conflict, the results can be, well, not so nice.
Here’s what often happens:
- You rearrange your life to suit others but feel resentful that nobody does the same for you.
- You yield to what others want in an effort to avoid conflict but feel annoyed when it’s you who once again has to modify your plans.
- You feel frazzled by the amount of work you’ve got to do, fried by all your responsibilities but believe there’s nothing you can do to change the situation.
- You like helping people but then harbor resentment that you have no time or energy to do what you want to do.
- You are the first one to jump in and say you’re sorry when something goes awry but you wonder why you rarely receive an apology from others.
If this article is hitting home for you, here’s what you can do to change the pattern right now.
- Know that being a nice person doesn’t mean giving in and accommodating others all the time. You can ask others to accommodate you. You can do this in a gentle way (i.e. Would you mind….?). Or you can strengthen your request, if necessary (i.e. I can’t leave so early; it has to be later if we’re going to meet up.)
- Don’t let guilt be your guiding light. If you’re feeling guilty about expressing your needs, know that it’s far better to feel a little guilt than to squelch your thoughts, ignore your desires, seethe inwardly and feel exploited.
- Guard against taking on tasks simply to please someone else or because you don’t know how to say “no.” You have a choice. Decide what you are okay with and what you’re not. Learning to comfortably say “no” (especially when you’re thinking “no”) will help you establish priorities and set limits on your time and energy. It will also make your “yes” more meaningful and more respected.
- Avoid the inclination to take over others’ responsibilities. This is how you become an enabler. Instead, remind the other person what needs to be done. Then back off. And let happen whatever will happen.
- When you do apologize, be clear about what you’re sorry for. Do not malign yourself. Do not repeat yourself. You made a mistake. It’s not the end of the earth. After a simple apology, focus on how you are going to move forward to resolve the situation. Or, simply segue to another topic.
Of course, being nice is not all bad. Indeed, we need more nice people in this world. So, do not alter your basic tendency to be nice, agreeable and thoughtful. Just modify your inclination to undervalue yourself and to compromise your personal interests.