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THE PROBLEM WITH NICE

Hi, my name is _________ and I am a chronic people pleaser.


Guilty.


I’ve always thought, if you can’t be anything else, be nice. But is “nice” even a compliment?





From an early age, I’ve always put a lot of energy into people pleasing without even knowing it. I was the one at the restaurant that sunk into my seat and avoided all eye contact when my mom had to complain about bad service – which I might add was always justified and in a respectful manner. I thought acting a certain way to offend the least amount of people was admirable. I’ve always kept the peace, remained soft-spoken, and made sure I wasn’t in the way. I look for the best in people, and the good in humanity, despite repeatedly proving me otherwise. It has made me acutely perceptive to the moods of people around me, and given me the ability to remain calm in just about any situation, which I’m grateful for. I think my empathy is a large part of who I am, but I will not accept just being nice anymore.


When you hate conflict and fear uncomfortable situations, you are automatically compromising yourself. You’re allowing yourself to be mistreated or taken advantage of. I was always used to it, so I didn’t realize how much it bothered me. I let people walk all over me, only because I wanted to make sure THEY were okay first. I unconsciously put others’ happiness ahead of mine because it’s natural instinct to ease the discomforts of people around me. But nobody should have to do that.  After being described as nice over and over, it made me think. Is this the legacy you want to leave? Being nice? Yeah, no thanks.


Nice is agreeable, and polite. It is sweet and accommodating. Nice isn’t compassionate, and will never break boundaries. How do we get past the chronic need to please? Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and authentic is an important step. Brené Brown, a complete badass, defines authenticity as “the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are.” She recognizes that losing sight of your real self leads to resentment, which can be detrimental. If you’re feeling resentment, it is usually the first sign that you’re using too much energy trying to please people.


To be sincerely kind and compassionate, you must set strong and clear boundaries for yourself. Setting boundaries can be as simple as making a list of things you VALUE, leading to what you NEED, and how to HONOUR them. You must love yourself first and demand to be treated with respect. One of the hardest parts of this for me is saying no. To realize when something in your life is not serving you anymore and to respect yourself enough to walk away. It is a really hard thing to do, but incredibly empowering.


Being authentic takes insane courage. You risk disapproval. You risk being disliked. But I think it’s always worth that risk.


So dare to be brave, be ridiculously kind and always say how you feel. Be real and imperfect and insanely compassionate. The world keeps spinning whether or not people understand you, so why not make this next trip around the sun about you.

– Iz

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