“You’re too nice.”
One of my students called me out for that my first year of teaching.
In her very astute, wise little fifth grade voice she told me, “Mrs. Crohn, you are too nice”
But wait… don’t you want to be nice? Isn’t that something to aim for?
Kind yes. But nice…
Nice is taking on the full responsibility for other people’s feelings
…and adapting your behavior to make others happy.
That’s what I was doing when an 11-year-old called me out.
I refused to raise my voice and tell a few boys to “Get in line, now”. Instead, I really wanted them to like me and tried to be calm, sweet – and let’s face it, pretty damn ineffective.
I thought I’d conquered my too nice ways since then.
But lately, I’ve noticed – being at home 24/7 around my kids – that oh man,
I’m “too nice” to my family.
Before you say, this is ridiculous, let me say that you might be being too nice as well.
If you feel:
- guilty for not doing enough,
- worried about making others upset and
- feel that at some level you’re responsible for your family’s happiness – then you are in that too nice boat with me.
That’s ok. We can keep each other company as we try to row to shore.
Because this “too nice” thing we’re doing, it’s hurting us.
Too nice is causing us to be angry and resentful.
It’s causing us to lose our patience quickly – and we don’t even know why.
Sometimes, I tell myself I need to be calmer or I need to be a more patient person… but that’s not the problem.
The problem is that I am denying and suppressing my own emotions because I don’t want those around me to feel an ounce of discomfort or distress.
It’s not working.
My kids still have bouts of poutiness. They still yell at each other from time to time.
My husband still gets in bad moods from work.
I can’t control any of that.
You can’t control it either. Those things are not your fault.
In his book, Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty… And Start Speaking up, Saying No, Asking Boldly, and Unapologetically Being Yourself, Dr. Aziz Gazipura PsyD asks readers to create a list of rules they live by.
These rules are usually subconscious ones that we don’t even know we’re clinging onto.
Some are directly contradictory to each other – causing us anxiety, stress and guilt.
You know your own rules based on when you catch yourself saying, “You should do…”
I wrote my rules down about what thought “I should do” to be a good parent.
What surprised me was that some rules sounded completely ridiculous when written down and yet, that’s how I’m operating on a day to day basis.
Here are the rules I came up with:
- I should value this time and ALWAYS listen when my kids talk (even if they’re interrupting me when I’m doing something)
- I should do as many things with my kids as possible
- I should always stay calm when they’re emotionally upset
- I should never yell at them.
- I should make sure they learn independence and self-sufficiency.
- I should make sure they’re always happy.
- I should not disappoint them EVER.
Now, some of those are good based on my values – like making my kids more independent.
But look at the rules I hold that directly fly in the face of teaching independence:
- “I should stop everything I’m doing and listen to my kids ANY TIME they’re talking to me” and
- “I should keep them happy and never disappoint them.”
Those two rules just aren’t even possible!
Since that’s how I think it “should” be, I experience HUGE guilt and stress when my kids are sad or when I say no.
Let’s be real. It sucks.
Do you relate to any of this?
I like to think I’m in recovery from my guilt-inducing thoughts but there is a long road ahead still. No Guilt Mom is an ideal I aspire to and I am right there beside you.
Know that you’re not alone in ANY of your feelings of not doing enough or impatience or feeling like you’re failing at all the things.
We can beat this.
What rules are you living by that keep you “too nice”?