Being nice is a wonderful trait but it’s not enough to survive and thrive in the real world.
Jane’s mother always said that being nice and being liked was the most important thing. But by the time Jane was 30, she had a negative, controlling, abusive husband, a bullying boss and coworkers who were slackers and harassed her if she didn’t do most of their work.
One day she woke up with two startling thoughts:
- Maybe the problem wasn’t that she wasn’t nice enough to win them over to being nice to her.
- Maybe the problem was that she was being too nice and that being nice wasn’t a good strategy with some people.
That was the beginning of Jane’s development into a successful adult. She saw that there were two kinds of people:
- Those who followed the Golden Rule and sought peaceful solutions and reconciliation. These people she could allow into her inner circle and enjoy being with.
- Those who took her kindness as weakness, and who took whatever they wanted from her while making here feel weak, bad, ashamed and guilty. Even if they were related by blood or marriage, she had to keep these people far away. If fact, Jane realized that she didn’t want to be liked by those people. In order to be liked by them, she’d have to give up control of her life and do things that violated her values, ethics or Sense of Self.
Jane’s old strategy to be nice was to avoid issues. She’d withdraw and hope that when people calmed down they could simply be nice to each other. She’d been trained by these bullies that if she brought things up, they’d blow, there’d be a confrontation and it was her fault. She was being trained to be nice, docile and submissive, which was how they wanted her.
Jane now realized that her most important task was to protect and defend her personal space everywhere she went. She could be nice as long as she was clear and firm when necessary. This meant many life and people changes for Jane but, despite the difficulties she encountered at first, she loved the results.
Obviously the same ideas apply to stopping bullies of any kind: at school, with domineering friends, toxic parents or toxic adult-children.
There are also all the skills we need to learn in order to thrive: how to learn new things, how to communicate when there’s a problem or hurt feelings, how to make a living, how to do distasteful things that are really important (changing diapers, taking care of sick people, etc.).
The best way to learn how to protect and defend your personal space is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:
- Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
- Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to deal with the specific situation you’re in.