As a perpetually nice girl, I retain the footprints of those who have walked all over me in the past. I may not have realized it until this very moment, but my crippling habit of saying yes to everything and everyone apparently acts as a green light for people to treat me however they deem fit — which is often not well.
This isn't a singular phenomenon — the world is full of people who are just a touch too nice for their own good. Those who won't complain if someone cuts in front of them in a coffee shop or those who simply shrug off the rude behavior from complete strangers; it happens every day.
Everyone fights battles and has personal baggage, so it seems that in knowing this, we should be kinder toward one another: hold the door open, help a elderly woman cross the street, say thank you, etc. But for some reason, many people consciously choose to remain cold and introverted. We walk through the streets and close ourselves off with headphones and averted eyes with body language that screams, “don’t approach me, you’re not welcome.”
We remain absorbed in our own lives and because of this, we have become careless and desensitized. Where does that leave the overly nice folks of the world? Well from what I hear, they finish last.
It's all too easy to slip into a routine and become "the nice one." In all aspects of life — professional and personal included — power struggles exist. It's a dog-eat-dog world and the first hint of fear will change the way people see you. Without properly asserting yourself in the workplace, you run the risk of being overlooked, while colleagues who may be less deserving advance another rung on the professional ladder.
In relationships, it’s likely to be taken for granted in the absence of being honest and forthright about feelings. The problem is, since you're such a nice person, you would never protest this treatment — it would be unkind.
It's time to collectively and abruptly put a stop to this vicious cycle. It would be ridiculous to assume that we could depend on other people to become kinder. The others already have the right idea. They don't apologize for going forth into the world and relentlessly going after what they want. Therefore, in order to break the cycle, change must start from within.
Imagine how liberating it would be to be able to say no when you wanted to say no. Envision the freedom you’ll feel if you relinquish concern with other opinions and focus on your own wants and needs. You need not return every call nor respond to every text message. If something or someone no longer serves you productively, remove it or him from the equation. Most importantly, realize that you do not need to feel badly about it.
Consider the number of times you've felt that you were treated unfairly. Now, try to remember how many apologies you received. Chances are, the numbers don't add up. People who are overly kind and considerate of others are sensitive and tend to find themselves in this situation. Unfortunately, if someone believes it possible take advantage of you, it will likely happen. We are responsible for our own happiness, which is difficult to achieve when too concerned about those who surround us.
So, embrace your inner jerk. Stop making excuses for those who treat you poorly and do not feel the need to apologize for putting your own happiness before others. You are not a doormat, and no one should make you feel like one. When you're debating whether or not to hold the door for the stranger who let it slam in your face, or to reply to the text message from the person who ignored you for a week, remember, it's okay to be a little selfish. Break the cycle.
Photo credit: WENN