Stop Being So Nice!

Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one. Eleanor Roosevelt

Being an individual, being yourself, means learning to say “no.” It means being less “nice.” Not being as nice isn’t showing a lack of love or respect. It is learning to say no to the demands of others that take away from your rights. It’s saying no to someone’s whim about what you need to do. It’s safeguarding your time and energy by saying no even to things that sound interesting but push you outside your boundaries. 

Overlooking bad behavior, saying yes when you want to say no, taking on more than you can reasonably do may make you the “nice” neighbor or friend but it will chip away at who you are, your right to be an individual.

Affirmation: It is okay to say no.

Coaching questions: If you’re considered the “go to” person who is always “nice” and says yes to every request, what is this behavior costing you? What would your life look like if you weren’t so “nice?”


Keep Your Lantern Bright

An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly. Unknown.

While talking with my granddaughters over Christmas, I was struck by the complexity of issues facing thirteen and fourteen year olds today. Questions around gender identity and sexual orientation, issues with absent parents, bullying, the stress of handling advanced placements. Both granddaughters come from stable homes and have few major issues of their own but they each tend to be the person to whom their friends  express their problems. I cautioned each of them to listen to their intuition, to not take on more than they can handle, and to set boundaries with their friends. (I sprinkled this into the conversation so it didn’t sound like a list of to-dos)

This is good advice for people of all ages. Having been a social worker, I know it’s difficult to walk the line between self-care and being a friend and confidante. At times we must say things like, “I know you’re really hurting right now and I want to listen and help you but I need to step back a bit. Perhaps we can talk about it later.” If you become overwhelmed by the problems of others, you no longer can help them or yourself. 

Affirmation: I can set boundaries.

Coaching questions: If you’re a confidante for your friends and family, how do you maintain your boundaries? Practice saying things, like the quote above, in advance so you’re ready when the time comes if you need to step back a bit from the overwhelm of the problems of others. 


Five Steps to Earning Trust

I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you. Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher

Trust is the measure of a quality relationship. This is true of friends, business associates, world leaders. Here are four behaviors that demonstrate trustworthiness. 

  1. Keep confidences. When you share confidential information, you destroy your trustworthiness with both the person you have betrayed and the person with whom you have shared the information. 
  2. Show vulnerability. When you open up and share your goals and values with others, they perceive you as more trustworthy. You have “skin in the game” and something to lose.
  3. Respect boundaries. Set clear boundaries for yourself and hold them. In turn, honor the boundaries of others. 
  4. Speak face to face. Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets have become a breeding ground for distrust. If you have something important to say, speak to the person directly. 
  5. Tell the truth. As Nietzsche says, once  the foundation of truth-telling is broken, it can take a great deal for someone to trust again.

Affirmation: I am trustworthy.

Coaching questions: How do you measure trustworthiness? How do you instill trust in others? What’s one thing you can do to be perceived as a more trustworthy person?