Kindness is my superpower. Some people say it’s positivity, but my positivity is rooted in kindness, self-kindness to be exact. I’m not nice with an agenda. I’m nice because that’s just who I am! Ultimately, people won’t care or remember what you look like or what you wear, but they’ll remember how you made them feel whether that’s through your words or actions. My genuine niceness got me where I am in life, and will continue to do so.
I was recently told I’m too “too nice” and no lie, fam, those words stung a lot. They were followed up with, “it’s easy to take advantage of you.” Excuse me?! Normally when others project their assumptions on me, I let it go, because I know it’s a reflection of their own insecurities. But I couldn’t shake these words off.
Being nice is not an invitation for others to take advantage of me, and it’s definitely not my weakness. I’m actually one of the strongest people I know. But like all things in Azadeh’s School of Success, being genuinely nice takes practice and there are tons of misconceptions about nice people. I’ve broken down six ways you can use your kindness as a source of strength.
Kindness Begins with Yourself
If you’re too nice and feel like a doormat, it’s because your kindness isn’t directed to the right person. Kindness begins with self-kindness and you should always make yourself the first priority. They say you can’t help others when you’re not at your best, and the same goes here. You cannot be a genuinely nice human in the world, if you aren’t genuinely nice to yourself first.
It’s Okay to Say No
A common misconception about nice people is that we don’t say no, but I say no all the time. Say no when you’re feeling drained and can’t pick up extra work. Say no when you don’t feel like answering the phone or hanging out with your friends. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it actually helps keep yourself balanced, productive, and present in life. And there’s no need to apologize for it either! When you need to refuse something, say, “I don’t have the bandwidth right now and I’d much rather be there for you when I’m not feeling so overwhelmed, thank you for understanding.”
Stop Saying Sorry
I sound like a broken record because I regularly mention this across my platforms, but stop saying sorry all the time! Especially young women! We have been conditioned by society to incessantly apologize for every little thing even when it’s not necessary. Pay attention to how much you say sorry in a day and soon you’ll start catching yourself. Remember, your time is valuable. It’s okay to make a guy wait. It’s okay to answer an email a day later. You are human and your time is as equally valuable as anyone else’s.
I’m going to teach you a total power move: instead of apologizing, replace ‘sorry’ with ‘thank you.’ By saying thank you, you aren’t subconsciously seeking approval from anyone and you’re practicing gratitude. All while still being a genuinely nice person. 🙂
You’re Nice, But Not a People Pleaser
Something really rubs me the wrong way about compulsive people pleasing. It’s so insincere! I’m talking about the people who agree just to agree. It’s beautiful that we all have our own unique preferences and interests. And we can all easily like what we like without dragging others down for their preferences. We can also admit when we don’t like something or know about something. It’s not difficult or outlandish to disagree with others without being arrogant!
Don’t Make Yourself Too Available
Just because you are nice doesn’t mean you’re a doormat. It’s okay to be selfish and prioritize where (or to who) your energy goes. That’s a form of mindful self-care! If you make yourself too available, that is when people take advantage of you even if they may not mean to! You can still be a nice person and respectfully be selective with your time and energy. Setting boundaries also helps prevent attracting needy/codependent people who will drain your energy.
Speak Up For Yourself
A common misconception about nice people is that we don’t stand for ourselves. I always stand up for myself. I don’t fear judgement or criticism because when others judge me it’s a projection of themselves, and criticism is an opportunity to grow. When you are your authentic positive, optimistic, and uplifting self, you’re at peace. You don’t have an agenda and don’t take others insecure projections on you seriously because you know your value and worth.