I have a problem with being too nice and I am often taken advantage of. When people take advantage of my kindness or speak in a negative manner, I am too nice to say anything, but it festers with me for a long time. The resentment builds up, and I eventually lose it and let them have it. It's a long-standing problem and I don’t know how to change it. Can you help?
I can help you change this — however, you need to understand the problem is not that you are too nice. The problem is you are too scared to speak your truth, defend yourself and say no.
You can’t be mad at the other person for taking advantage of you when you don’t speak up and stop them. If you are too scared to speak your truth, then you are the one at fault.
You may have low self-esteem, which prevents you from taking care of yourself without feeling guilty. You may also think you need approval from other people to have value, and you are willing to betray yourself to get it.
The principle behind the advice: Fear is the root cause of your problems.
You must start trusting that your value is infinite and absolute. You do not need validation from other people; your validation must come from inside you.
You need to start speaking your truth when people offend you, but you need to learn how to do it in a loving way that honors the kind person you are. You will really discover your power when you learn to be strong and loving at the same time.
Here are some examples of strong and loving responses to the situations you mentioned.
To say no (with love and strength) when someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do:
Ask them some questions before making your answer. Asking questions and listening makes people feel loved and valued. You are not asking these questions so they can lay a guilt trip on you, though. You are listening to show them you care. No matter what they say, you will still say no.
Ask questions like:
To speak your truth (with love) when someone is rude or offends you:
First, determine whether bringing up this issue is appropriate or necessary. Could you choose to let it go, have compassion and choose not to be offended? Most rude comments are not intentional and are not about you. The other person’s low self-esteem is the problem.
The principle behind the advice: Most bad behavior is a request for love.
It is a bad way to request love, but love is what the person needs. It is also the last thing a rude person expects. They are subconsciously hoping you will be rude, too, because that would justify their being rude. Don’t sink to their level. Be as kind and loving as possible.
If you must bring up the offense to preserve the relationship, say something like this:
Another great question is, “If I was a little bothered by [what they said or did], how could I bring it to you in a way that would still show you how much I love and respect you?”
These kinds of questions, asked with love for the other person from a place of confidence and clarity, will help you to speak your truth. If your intention is love instead of proving your right, the other person will feel it and they will not get as defensive.
If they do get offended or defensive, which they may choose to do, it doesn’t make speaking your truth wrong. Let them process their way through the experience however they choose. In the end, your friends and family will respect you more for being a strong person.
This will take some practice, but you can do it.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker. Watch LIFEadvice with Coach Kim on KSL TV every Monday between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.