We’re told from early on that kindness is a virtue, that it is better to give than to receive and that it’s nice to be, well, nice.
But is there a point where being too nice, too loving, too agreeable or too giving to others comes at the detriment of our own health and happiness?
We’re talking about the so-called ‘Disease to Please’ or ‘Care-taker Personality’ — when care-giving morphs into fervent people-pleasing. When we have a hard time saying no — despite our own pressing priorities and schedules. When we put everyone else’s problems before our own or agree with people because we want to fit in or avoid rocking the boat.
Believe it or not, it can have pretty yucky consequences.
You see, often, when we’re striving to please people all of the time, what we are really saying is, “My own needs are unimportant — lemme put yours first.”
As a result, we limit our own potential, make our selves vulnerable to hurt or disappointment, slow the pursuit of our own goals, put our own self-care on the backburner and basically place our happiness in the hands of others.
There’s no denying kindness makes the world go ‘round — in fact, responding to the needs of others is paramount to healthy, functioning and meaningful relationships (and society), but perhaps we need to balance that (entirely admirable) desire to help others with a mindful dose of assertiveness from time to time.
Failing to set ‘boundaries’ around what you give and how much you give, could lead to being manipulated or taken advantage of. Give some people an inch, and they’ll take a mile — simply because we fail to communicate to them that their expectations of us are unrealistic or overly demanding. We end up overburdened with everyone else’s emotional loads and responsibilities —which can be incredibly stressful and draining.
If you’re quick to defer your own needs to make way for others’, you’re denying yourself the attention and self-love you deserve.
If you’re burned out, stressed out and emotionally and physically drained what do you have left to give to others?
Do you have a friend who always asks for favours, but rarely checks in to see how you are or simply spend sacred time with you? Are there people in your life who speak, but don’t listen?
Being a people pleaser can be a lot of work with little reward, and often, you’ll end up bending over backwards for people who, unfortunately, would never dream of doing the same in return.
A fear of rejection can often lead others to benefit from your kindness, more than you do. Thriving— and ultimately depending — on all the feel good feelings derived from doing good for others ain’t doing you any favours when it comes to your self worth.
Often, people are skeptical by nature. Can you reaaally be ‘nice’ 100% of the time?
Do you have a tendency to please others in order to avoid negative reactions, confrontation rejection, judgment, attack, or abandonment?
People-pleasers tend to agree by default — without even considering what they truly believe or want. Being overtly agreeable or ‘compliant’, as opposed to sharing your own thoughts or opinions, turns down the volume on your own voice — and your truth. When you’re automatically being nice, without reflecting on your own thoughts and values, you’re not serving yourself.
You know how flight attendants always instruct their passengers, in the event of an emergency or loss of cabin pressure, to place an oxygen mask on their own face before trying to help their children and other passengers? They urge you to do so because it’s an important rule for ensuring your survival. You can’t help others if you’re slumped in your seat gasping for air, or passed out, can you?
Let this be a valuable metaphor when you’re racing around, taking care of everything and everyone else except yourself.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s incredibly important to be responsive to the needs of others — but not at the exclusion or abandonment of your own
Here’s how you can ensure you’re being nice to yourself — in the midst of being nice to others:
How do you strike a balance between offering kindness, and being ‘too nice’? Share with us in the comments below!