That’s an EXCELLENT question. I struggle with that myself too more than I care to think about.
Often we think that if we are “nice” to others, others will treat us with kindness in return. Or, we may feel that if we are nice, others will like or love us more. It’s the old “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” type of thinking.
Unfortunately, there are so many people out there who either don’t think the same way or, they are concentrating on themselves more than anything else. Being nice all of the time really doesn’t work the way that it should.
There are a few key questions that you need to ask yourself in order to break free from being nice all of the time as it’s not only not necessary but, it’s wearing down your self-respect or self-esteem.
- Why am I doing this? (If you answer that it’s for the other person all of the time, STOP right there and ask yourself question #2)
- Has or is this person being nice to me and returning favours or whatever I am about to do for them? (If you answered “no” to that question, decline doing whatever it is that they want you to do. They like what you do for them, not you. It’s ok to decline.)
- Do I ever get anything out of being so nice in return? (If you answered “no…most of the time I don’t” then you have reason to decline as well.)
- I really don’t want to do this for so-in-so. Why am I doing it? What am I getting out of this? (If you answer that you’re going to have reciprocal things done for you in return…go ahead and do it as long as it’s not unreasonable or taking too much away from your life. If you aren’t getting anything out of it, look at #5 below.)
- Do you have trouble saying “no”? If so, that may mean that you are doing things you don’t want to do just because you haven’t learned the art of saying “no” without feeling guilty. Learn that saying “I’ll get back to you on that,” or “I can’t help you out right now” (without explanation…as you needn’t give one at all).
- Realize that people like people who they have to work to have in their lives and respect people who respect themselves. Doing one thing is a favour, doing it all of the time, is your job now in their minds.
- There will always be someone else that a “User” will get to do their deeds for them. No matter what sob story someone gives you, don’t let it tug at your heart strings. They will find someone else to do what they want for them. Trust me on that one, please. There’s usually a plethora of people that they keep in wait for times when they want and need something. You aren’t the only one in their lives whether they want you to believe that you are or not.
- Treat others as they treat you. That’s more of a golden rule that helps than anything else. if someone is nice to you, be nice in return to them. If someone treats you like you’re dirt beneath their feet, while you may not want to necessarily treat them the same way in return, it’s a good indication that you need to walk away until they treat you better. If they don’t…stay away from them. They bring no good into your life.
- Realize that you are EQUAL to EVERYONE else on this planet. You are no worse nor, any better. You deserve to be treated well too. Start with treating YOURSELF better first. Love yourself. Treat yourself with the same niceness and kindnesses that you’d normally reserve for others. That goes a long way towards helping yourself to stop being so nice to OTHERS.
- Finally, ask yourself what YOU want to do or not do and follow through with your own agenda first. Your first reaction may be to do what someone else wants or to be nice when they are wiping their feet on you. Don’t do it. Think it through. Think about what you’re giving up to be there and be nice to someone else. Sometimes, being nice is a nice thing but, being nice all of the time to everyone, makes you a doormat for everyone else. Ask yourself what YOU want first and respond accordingly to what you want. If you don’t know…take the time to figure that out before you say, “ok”.
I wish you well on this challenge. It won’t go away overnight because you didn’t get this way overnight. It’s a “habit” now. You’re going to slip up from time to time but, get back on track when you recognize that you’ve slid off the wagon. There are times to be nice to others but, more times to be nice to YOURSELF. Love yourself first and foremost. That’s usually the answer and what most other people do. If you don’t believe me…watch others and what they do or don’t do.
Best of wishes from my little corner of life to yours.