So what’s wrong with being nice? How can someone be too nice?
Well, when your niceness and kindness and your constant need to please others comes at the cost of your own peace and happiness.
Do you avoid conflict at all costs? Do you always say yes, even when you don’t really want to? Are you always apologising, even when you know you’re not in the wrong?
It sounds like you may well be a people pleaser.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being nice to others and doing nice things, to make others happy. But when you’re denying your own rights and needs so that others will accept you or like you, then you’re not allowing yourself the respect you deserve.
Damaging people-pleasing behaviour often comes from a deep feeling of low self-worth. You may have learned at some point that in order to feel worthy and special you must please others.
You may have had a parent or parents who weren’t as emotionally available as they could have been, so you felt that you had to be overly kind and nice to get their full attention. Children who don’t receive unconditional love whenever they need it can come to learn that love has to be earned.
Wherever your people pleasing behaviour came from, the truth is that you don’t need to do anything for anyone, or to act nice, or to sacrifice yourself to get what you need. It was always your right and continues to be your right to be loved and respected and to feel special. You’re worthy of unlimited love and respect. You don’t have to go out and earn it, you’ve always had it.
So how do you turn around this habit of people pleasing? How do you start to give yourself the respect you deserve and stop giving up your own needs to please others?
Boundaries. Through building healthy boundaries for yourself and knowing and asserting your own boundaries while respecting the boundaries of others will give you the right foundation to be a kind person to others while also being kind to yourself.
Personal boundaries are the rules and limits you set for yourself within relationships. Healthy personal boundaries are based on self-respect and knowing what you are truly deserving of.
If you know what you are willing to accept and not to accept before you enter a situation, then you can stay on the healthy side of your boundaries.
You probably already know exactly what you are not willing to accept. All those negative emotions you have felt after you have pleased others at the detriment of yourself were an indication of what you knew deep down you really shouldn’t really be taking on.
Consider how you really feel when someone asks a request of you. Do you really want to? Are you feeling a little resentful because you’d rather be giving yourself some much-needed self-care, or even doing a task of your own? Weigh it up and really listen to how you feel about it. If you really want to say yes then great, it’s a wonderful thing to be kind to others, but if it is going to cost you too much, then you have every right to say no.
If you are really struggling to say no, why not ask for some time. Say you will think about it. You have every right to take some time to think before committing yourself to something. This will give you the time to consider whether you genuinely want to say yes or whether you are just betraying your own needs again.
How would it feel to start to respect yourself and to not betray your own needs? How good would it feel to say no and really mean it?
People pleasers are so nice and kind to everyone around them. They are the first to offer their help and to jump in and give their support. But they tend to leave one person out.
Practice giving yourself the kind of care and attention that you give to others. You wouldn’t let someone you really love do things you knew they didn’t really want to do.
You matter as much as everyone around you. The level of respect that you give yourself will dictate how much respect you get off the others around you.
Once you start to give yourself the love and respect you deserve, you will become more and more skilful at saying no when you need to. You will get to know the difference between honouring others because you really want to or honouring others from a damaging place.
Kindness and niceness are great and it’s good to make others happy. But pleasing people doesn’t have to cost you your own happiness.