When Kindness Can Hold Us Back
I confess: I’m a “nice-aholic.”
That’s difficult to admit, but I’ve discovered I’m happiest when completely honest. This year I resolved to have my mouth and heart say the same thing. If I tell the truth with kindness—with absolute integrity—hopefully I will inspire others to overcome their own struggles and fears.
Fear becomes the center of this artificial niceness.
Saying “yes” when I mean “no,” keeping my mouth shut when I feel disappointed or not holding people accountable for things they agreed to do—these create all sorts of problems.
Not holding these standards makes me unhappy. I sleep poorly and feel irritated or angry. The ensuing stress ultimately creates more messiness in my life. Those situations always backfire.
Here’s how it might go: I request a team member to do something. I might not be clear, or I might ask the wrong person to do it. What I receive back becomes less than satisfactory.
Here’s what I should say: “Hey, this is a good start, but I really need it to be like this and go work on it until it is right.”
Yet I don’t say anything. Instead I’m “nice” to them, mumble under my breath, end up doing it myself and “being a hero,” then resent them, feel frustrated, get mad and complain.
Often that becomes a big mess and undermines what I really want. It also forfeits giving people a chance to show up differently or deal with the consequences of them not being right for the job.
I do the same thing with my family. My son recently moved home and I didn’t give him a budget. I discovered he was spending more than he really should.
“This doesn’t work,” I should have said. “You need to become accountable, track your spending and we need to create a budget.”
Instead, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to create conflict or make him feel bad because I felt guilty he lost his job. Yet avoiding that hard conversation robbed us of an honest relationship. It took away his ability to show up differently and do the right thing.
My resolution this year is complete honesty. That I don’t always tell the complete truth becomes hard to admit. I will almost always be nice rather than honest, at least until I explode. Then I’m not as nice.
Surely I’m not the only one who does this?
Being nice when we feel unhappy, disappointed or need to express what we need becomes a form of lying. Yet I do this, and so do many people I know. This year I resolve to stop doing it and end the trouble it creates for everyone around me and myself.
Being “nice” like this actually becomes a form of manipulation. We attempt to manage someone else’s response to our words or behavior rather than simply remain honest and deal maturely with the potential fallout.
I learned this at a young age, as many nice-a-holics do. Maybe it worked then, but it doesn’t anymore.
That became difficult to change, so I asked for help. My life coach from the Handel Group® challenges me, holds me accountable and shows me where I lie or don’t tell the whole truth.
Far beyond just a life coach, she helps me with my goals and dreams. She remains committed to help me hold my integrity and be truthful in all my communications and relationships.
When I tell the truth, those in my life—employees, friends or family—know where I stand and how I feel. We then develop an authentic, more profound relationship, which is what I wanted to create in the first place.
When I make my heart and my mouth always say the same thing, I feel more authentic. Life becomes even better.
My coach gives me the right wake-up call for my patterns and the right assignments to help me to see my way out. She then holds me accountable.
What one behavior that holds you back have you resolved to change this year? Share yours below or on my Facebook fan page.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Mark Hyman
Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: Google Images for Reuse