I really don’t care what people think about me.
Well, I care, but mostly I don’t.
Let me rephrase that: I care to a point.
After that? *shrug* Meh.
I mean, it bothers me when loved ones are upset with me, the closer to my heart they are, the more it tears me up. But I think we all have to reach a point where we say, “Enough.” A heart can only take so much.
I’ve had this conversation with both of my boys.
The “being TOO nice” conversation.
My boys are gentle creatures. I have no idea what I’ve done to turn them into such creatures but I thank God that whatever happened, happened. (Too bad I’m not smart enough to know what that was).
And they’re nice. They’re nice to everyone. They are loathe to hurt anyone’s feelings.
On the surface, this is a good thing. Truly. But there are times it’s not such a good thing.
Dude will agree to do something simply because he thinks disagreeing will hurt the person’s feelings. Or, Dude will search for the answer you want to hear because he doesn’t want to disappoint you.
Jazz will defend underdogs because he feels sorry for them. Even if defending the person puts him in the cross hairs, even if his stepping in means other kids will make fun of him, then so be it. I can’t tell you the number of times Jazz has come home to tell me about how some kid was being bullied and he swooped in to save the day. Or, the times he’s gotten upset because a “friend” suddenly began giving him the cold shoulder.
Life lessons are so hard to learn. And even harder to teach, I think.
In a nutshell, I’ve taught my boys that though it’s great to be nice, that you should always give nice a chance first, sometimes you have to stop being nice.
It’s human nature to take advantage of other people. I mean, if we’re constantly given something and then given the option of working for it, which option do you think the majority of people will choose?
If you’re continuously nice to people and expect very little, if anything in return, then most of the time, those same people will continue to take advantage of your good nature. They will suck you dry. And most won’t think twice about it.
There has to come a time when you have to put your foot down and say NO MORE.
You can do it nicely, you can do it tactfully, but ultimately, you have to do it. You only have so much to give before your reserves are tapped out and if your generosity, your willingness to understand and be patient is draining so much life out of you so that you don’t have the time, energy, or wherewithal to live your own life and take care of the people who depend on you, then it’s time to cut the dependency ties.
The challenge, of course, is knowing WHEN to do that.
And that’s what I’ve tried to teach the boys. Knowing when to stop being so nice (and by that, I don’t necessarily mean start being mean but to know when it’s time to move on) is hard. There is no cut and dried answer. It depends. It depends on the person, the situation, the circumstance. It depends on how much you’re emotionally invested in the person (though again, be careful, loved ones can sometimes be the worse when it comes to taking advantage of your good nature).
But I’ve seen too many people, I’ve heard too many sad stories from people I’ve worked with, about how they’re so tired of being taken advantage of and yet, they continue their behavior and continue to be taken advantage of. At some point, the cycle has to end, doesn’t it?
Most people are great and getting to know them can be a huge reward, but then there are some people who are poison to your mental health and to your quality of life in general.
The challenge is being honest enough with yourself to first SEE it, and then having the strength to do something about it.
Move on and concentrate your energies on the people in your life who love and respect you.
Not everyone will like you. And that’s okay.