Wanna know what my least favourite 4-letter-word is?
I am a big believer that being nice is a negative action.
It doesn't do anyone any favours.
Nice is the very often the cause of anxiety...
Social pressures involve a high degree of niceness.
Think of it, when you are being nice to someone, you are probably putting your desires on the shelf - even if it is just a teeny bit.
Often, the niceness arises from a story we are telling ourselves about the wants or needs of another person rather than the reality.
"Oh, I assumed you were X, so I thought Y."
We create a narrative involving the other person and do what we think they want because we are being nice.
When we act based on our assumptions, we use up our resources.
Most times we expect to be thanked or considered as a result of our energy use.
Growing up, we weren't taught to check in with the other person, we were taught to be nice.
If we don't check in with the other person to see if our story is accurate, we waste a lot of energy worrying what the other person is thinking and acting based on our assumptions.
Now let's switch our being nice with being kind.
I highly value kindness.
Meeting the wants and needs of the other person as defined by reality.
This involves an extra step of checking in.
You can ask.
You can tell your side of the story.
"I want to Y because I think you are X."
This leads to permission and adds value to the interaction.
It can feel really vulnerable at first, but you might be surprised at how empowering the switch in narrative can be!
Kindness is done through acknowledging you own needs and internal resources.
It is a disservice to be nice if it will leave you compromised.
It is a kindness for you to delegate or defer a task if you need a moment.
It is nice to pour yourself out beyond your capabilities, but it is not kind to yourself.
Or to the other people who now have to deal with a compromised you.
I'll say that again.
It is a disservice to others for you to pour yourself out fully without filling your own tank.
There is a difference between being selfish and being kind to yourself so you can keep serving others in a positive and loving way.
It isn't selfish.
It allows for more giving of self because you have a full gas-tank instead of running on fumes.
Kindness is boundaries.
When you do an image search on boundaries, it comes up with barbed wire and sharp looking images intended to keep outsiders out.
This is NOT what we mean when we talk about boundaries.
When I imagine boundaries, it is more like a welcoming bubble.
A bubble that allows you to see how to meet my needs and how to enter with kindness.
It allows for connection and safety and enjoyment of each other in a way that lets us into the moment rather than to keep out.
Some boundaries need to be sharp, but with most human interaction, I think they should be soft yet firm.
Clear and defined.
Boundaries allow you to have a more authentic connection with people.
You can interact with purpose and joy and permission and choice!
It is a profound kindness to let people know if you can't be available for something rather than showing up and flailing or burning out.
I think I can say for certain that no one here wants someone to burn out for them, so why would you allow it for yourself in regards to others?
This shift in thinking from nice to kind can free up energy and space for you to enter into the relationships that are respectful and mature and growing.
If we think of life as a garden:
The people who disrespect you will start to be weeded out.
The people who honour you will have more room to grow.
You will flourish.
There absolutely should be a space for all healthy people in the garden of your life, but if a plant gets sick, or a potentially toxic weed enters, create a separate space for them.
Tend to them in a separate planter surrounded by marigolds.
Assess how you want those plants to enter into your life.
I'm not suggesting you pull up all the "weeds", but if they are poisioning the soil, maybe create a contained planter (with boundaries) for them to work within so the toxicity doesn't spread and take all your resources.
Wishing you a kind day,
Tea-loving awesomeness. Challenging perfectionism.