Are you so nice to everyone else that you actually end up hurting yourself? Are you taken advantage of because you can't seem to say "no"? Do you bend over backwards to help others, even when they rarely come through for you? Is your stomach in knots over having to explain why you can't do a favor for a friend, stay late at work, or run every school PTA event? Does your own family suffer because of all the "nice" things you agree to do for others? Do you snap at your spouse and children because you're burnt out by outside demands?
If you said yes to any of these questions, you may be "too nice" for your own good. Without balance, being excessively "nice" to others can result in being "mean" to ourselves. Don't you deserve the same sensitivity and compassion you give to others?
Sensitivity, caring and compassion are admirable qualities. They fill life with meaning, protect us from unhealthy self absorption and are vital for spiritual and emotional health. Yet, there are times when saying "yes" to everyone else's needs is self-defeating and self-destructive.
Too often I see wonderful, creative, loving people who are overwhelmed by panic and stress from the need to please everyone around them. They feel "guilted into" all sorts of projects and obligations and can't seem to set appropriate limits with friends, family and acquaintances. They want to make everyone else happy, yet too often end up feeling miserable themselves.
If this speaks to you, you know that the pressure to "be nice", accommodating, and available at all costs can feel suffocating. All that "niceness" can leave you with little energy to take care of your own emotional and physical needs. Ironically you may also end up secretly resenting the very people you are trying to be nice to. (Unfortunately, that can become another thing to feel guilty about...)
If all your "niceness" ends up leaving you a nervous wreck, you could benefit from a little assertiveness coaching.
Therapy can help you:
* let go of the excessive need to please others
* create a more balanced internal vision of what a "nice girl" or "nice boy" is
* set appropriate limits on the types of favors and obligations you can handle
* prioritize "sacred" times and activities that will be free of interruptions for favors (dinner, homework time, exercise)
* prioritize which people and causes you can commit to
* role-play how to say "no", without leaving a negative impression
* manage anxiety with stress reduction techniques
* reinforce the new you with positive affirmations and visualizations