Say No to Being so Damn Nice
I’m angry, and it’s my fault.
When you’re good at what you do, people are going to ask for your time, your energy, and your talent. It’s your job as a creative person to protect yourself and say no when you need to, when something doesn’t feel good or right to you.
How many times a day are you nice when you don’t want to be?
I bet it’s more than you realize.
I end almost every text message with “lol.” I receive emails every day that are short, factual, and assertive; I write the same emails, then add smiley faces to the end of assertions to make them sound softer, or use a sign-off like “warmly” so people won’t think I’m being rude, or that I'm upset with them.
I smile through situations that make me uncomfortable. I tell people it’s my pleasure to help them when really, I’m annoyed that they didn’t follow instructions, interrupted me, and are disrespectful of my time. I humour long-winded stories that bore me, and laugh at jokes to seem agreeable. It's an endless cycle of censorship and resentment.
I’m cheerful. Bubbly. Adorable. I can say without a trace of ego that I’m extremely well-liked and respected, because I bend over backwards to become everyone’s best friend.
But you know what?
I don’t love everyone. I don’t even like everyone. And I don’t love myself when I’m not standing up for my boundaries. My inner child rolls her eyes at my cowardice, screams in indignation that her sound judgment, my voice, is being silenced and ignored.
You don’t have to be nicer than you’re comfortable with, or even nice at all. You can have strong boundaries and still be loved and safe. Sing it with me now.
And by the way, if someone does dislike or reject you because you value yourself and respect your own boundaries, fuck that person. (Not literally. That’s going to cause separate but related problems.)
Don’t feel obligated to keep saying yes because you’re afraid that saying no will mean rejection.
Instead of saying yes to everyone else, start saying yes to yourself.