I think I’m too damn nice.
At work last week, there was a sweet old lady who desperately needed help getting phone service. I found a lovely solution for her. She thanked me. I told her to call me whenever she needed help. She’s still calling me. Did I mention she returned the hardware? Because she totally did. But I didn’t want to turn her away. That’s when Boss Man told me I’m too nice to old people.
In reality, I’m too damn nice to EVERYONE. I forgive people who don’t deserve it. Work late? Sure. Run errands for you? Sure. I just like helping people. I want to be the type of person who cares about others. But sometimes, I realize that I’m kind of a doormat.
This week I missed the gym every. single. day. Why? Because I offered to help at work. Or help out with something at home. Or take a night shift to help someone out. Oh, and one time I left my house like a grownup and went out for drinks with the best coworkers ever & made a tank top with a friend. But in the end, all of my helping out ended up keeping me from doing what I wanted to do, which was go to the gym. I’m glad I finally put my personal life front and centre, and spent time with my rad coworkers and friends, but the rest of the week I cut short my own activities to do things for other people. This is just what I do. I don’t want to rock the boat, so I try to be helpful and accommodating. But the only person who ends up suffering is me.
It’s been this way my entire life; I try not to stir the pot because I just want to be nice. I don’t want to make anyone unhappy, even though they have no problem making me unhappy or taking advantage of my desire to help people. It’s why friends owe me money, or I let it go when they don’t talk to me for weeks, or make other plans when I’m only down for a week. It’s why I try to be extra accommodating at work. I just want to be nice.
So, I need to make more of a conscious effort to say no. To remind myself that the kids come first and my needs follow. It’s not kids, friends, coworkers, random customers, then me. I’ll never be happy that way. If I’ve signed up for a class, I need to assert myself and say “No. I’m going to the gym/I have plans.” I don’t need to apologize either. I’m allowed to want my own space and time & it’s well within my rights as a human to put them first. I don’t need to constantly sacrifice to please others. I know I’ll end up backsliding, so I’ll need to remind myself every now and again. You don’t need to be so agreeable. You can stand up for yourself. You can say no. You don’t have to constantly say yes to everything at work or offer to stay late and come early, you can just go to the gym or go home and watch Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children for the 900th time.
I guess I’m always afraid that if I say no, people will stop wanting to be my friend/date me/I’ll get fired. But that’s stupid; why do I have to constantly sacrifice to please everyone else? Life should be that everyone sacrifices a little bit. Besides, if they really were my friend/loved me, they wouldn’t care that I wanted to pursue my interests. And no human has ever been fired for saying no to a shift swap. I’ll just have to remember this and remind myself that it’s okay to put myself first sometimes.
It’s okay to be nice. But you’ve also got to be nice to yourself. Sometimes that means saying no & putting your needs first. If they get mad, they aren’t worth having in your life anyway.