The Curse of Being Too Nice

How to stop being too nice

How to stop being too nice, how to stop people taking advantage of you

Are You Being Too Nice?

How to be stop people taking advantage of you

You’ve been pushed way, way beyond your limits. You know perfectly well that the other person is taking advantage of you.

You want to explode. You can feel the words rising up in your throat and getting stuck there.

But something stops the words from getting out.

Because there’s too much at stake, you might lose your job, or this person’s love/friendship or some other advantage that hinges on you being pleasant to them.

And so you find yourself smiling and saying it’s quite OK.

But it often boils down to one simple thing: they know that you won’t lash back at them. Because YOU’RE FAR TOO NICE.

The Curse of Being Too Nice

How to stop being too nice - how to stop people taking advantage of you
How to stop people taking advantage of you

Niceness is a curse and also an asset. I know this too well as I’ve spent my whole life being nice.

But these days, people rarely take advantage of me because I have a kind of edge. And so I rarely am confronted in this way. So I don’t have to bring out the blazing guns.

And people still perceive me as nice. I wish they wouldn’t use that word, but they do. But my niceness is just coming from a different place.

It comes from a genuine warmth of heart. It’s the enjoyment of giving to others because it makes me feel good. As a result, I have attracted many amazing things into my life. Wonderful friends, opportunities and invitations because people like being around me and giving to me.

And although I am a natural giver, I receive back in equal measure. This is very different from the old days. In fact, these days, I probably receive more than I give. And I don’t have to do anything to get it or get people to give to me. It just happens.

Why People Take Advantage of You

However, there is a particular kind of niceness that will stop other people from giving to you. In fact, it makes them take from you even more.

And it’s not that they’re being nasty or manipulating you. In fact, they may be absolutely wonderful people. But they’re picking up on a broadcast that you’re unconsciously putting out to the world. So this is a little bit like a radio station that tells the world to switch off and to stop listening.

So it’s important obviously to stop that broadcast.

If it were that easy, you’d do it immediately. But anything to do with an unconscious pattern is far from easy to break.

In this short article, I hope to give you some keys as to how you can break the cycle of giving without receiving. I know from experience this can be very painful.

The Mask of Niceness

For many, many years, my niceness was a curse. The scenario I described at the beginning of this article was a pretty regular occurrence. Although I often came away from those situations, feeling that I’d come out looking better. After all, I was the nice one. The one that was being generous or who was being more understanding or tolerant.

And that gave me a slight feeling of superiority because I myself would never stoop to such emotionally manipulative behaviour.

But I also had a sickening feeling in my stomach. That the more appropriate reaction would have been to tell the other person where to get off.

Not just because I knew I was being “taken for a ride”. But because my niceness had become a kind of habit.

It’s what people expected of me and what I expected of myself. And I couldn’t behave in any other way.

I was trapped behind the MASK OF NICENESS. It also meant I had been stuffing down my feelings for years. I knew it wasn’t doing me any good. And I also knew that if I did express how I felt, the other person would get much more than they bargained for.

Because after years of stuffing my feelings down, there was a huge build-up of resentment.

The mask of niceness. How to stop being too nice - how to stop people taking advantage of you -
The mask of niceness

The Volcano

In fact, there was a volcano full of feelings just waiting to explode inside me. The fire and the molten lava would have shot up into the sky with an amazing force and be seen for miles around. The burning lava would have streamed down the sides of the mountain. Trees would have been ripped up from their roots. Rocks would have been hurled like tennis balls. And people and animals would have fled for their lives!

This is what lay behind my MASK OF NICENESS – a volcano full of feelings that had been there for a very long time. Most of them Rage, Anger, Frustration and Resentment.

How to stop being too nice - repressed emotions - depression - being too nice - how to stop people taking advantage of you
There was a volcano full of feelings just waiting to explode inside me…

In fact, when I was 11, I did a painting of a volcano in my Art class which got chosen to be displayed in the school corridor. It was the only time a painting of mine ever got displayed. Knowing what I do now, there was a reason why I could paint a volcano so well that it drew the attention of my Art teacher.

There was a volcano inside me. For once this volcano had an opportunity to express itself in the safe context of a painting.

Most Nice People Don’t Explode

While it is true that in the real world, a volcano like that would explode and cause major devastation, I never exploded. Most of the nice people that I work with don’t either. There may be mini volcanic spurts when the pressure gets too much, which might even backfire on you.

After all you do and put up with, you find that people avoid you because of these occasional outbursts. You even may be labelled as nasty.

But it certainly is true that with that kind of build-up there’s got to be an explosion one day. Something’s got to give. The feelings have got to come out somehow.

In my case, the feelings came out as depression so much so that it was beginning to make me ill.

How to stop being too nice confidence - repressed emotions - -depression - how to stop people taking advantage of you
The feelings had to come out somewhere – for most people, it manifests as depression

And this, in fact, was my lifesaver. It started me on this path. I ended up in hospital when there was nothing wrong with me. It took many years for the volcano to release, and now, in its place, I am glad to say, it is a magnificent mountain.

It took many years to get there, and now I help people find their mountain and express their power without being dominating or strident … in a very short amount of time.

How to stop being too nice confidence - repressed emotions - how to stop people taking advantage of you
Now in the place of the volcano, I am glad to say is a magnificent mountain.

Discovering The Rainbow

One of the things I learned on my journey is that as nice as I might have appeared to the world, the one person I was not being very nice to, was myself.

Because behind my MASK OF NICENESS, there was a full rainbow of colours. All kinds of colours. Vividly bright colours, dark and murky colours. Light colours, and the full range of greys and beiges. But I wasn’t getting to express many of them. All that other people saw of my “colours” were the pale, insipid ones. And all I got to experience were the dull and dreary colours that were making me feel so awful.

But I have found that in all cases, it is the dark and murky colours that are the key to opening up the full array of rainbow colours. Have you ever seen such colours in the rainbow?

How to stop being too nice confidence
When you have met the dark parts of yourself, the rainbow colours are going to shine through

The rainbow exists because of the meeting of dark and light. When you have met the dark parts of yourself, these rainbow colours are going to shine through.

You will experience more joy and lightness, and people are going to want to be around you. Not just because you’re nice but because they are instinctively drawn to your colours.

And it can even be fun doing so. This is what attracted me to drama in the first place and what has inspired me to develop the Sunflower Effect.

When You “Have To” Be Nice

Because the fact is there are many, many situations in your life when you “have to be nice”. When you have to stuff your feelings down. There can be lots of benefits to doing that. And if you can do it in the right way, then it can actually fuel your progress.

Successful people know how to do this and have made it into an art form. The important thing is to have a place to discharge the feelings that can build up over time, and create toxins in the system and a host of other problems.

This is why healthy expression is so important. Expression not just through the head – but with the whole body. This will release the toxins. But it will also release the endorphins – which are the feel-good biochemicals that are so important for well-being, and our emotional and physical health.

Because in truth when you have embraced all your colours within you, the freer you will become. In fact the more you embrace the darker aspects of yourself, the more the bright, vivid colours can shine through.

The Path to Finding Your Authentic Voice

Mythology and fairy tales have much to teach us around this. In the Russian story of the Baba Yaga, the much too nice Vasalissa allows her stepmother and stepsisters to push her around. That is until she has to face the Baba Yaga – a hag who is far from nice and would eat her up if given a chance.

confidence - being too nice
Going beyond niceness – facing the Baba Yaga

The characters in such stories are universal and express different aspects of ourselves. Therefore the Baba Yaga is the part of you that takes you either to freedom or self-destruction.

Vasilisa has to face the Baba Yaga. She uses parts of her niceness to do that. But she also stands up to the Baba Yaga and in doing that steps into her power.

Vasilisa is the part of you, therefore, that steps out of any habitual way of behaving. This could be: being too nice, playing the victim or being caught up in an addiction.

And as a reward, the Baba Yaga gives her the burning skull, which burns up her stepmother and stepsisters when she takes it home. Vasilisa doesn’t have to do anything to achieve this. She does not inflict any violence on any of them. The sheer power of the Baba Yaga’s gift burns them up because it is their own malevolence that is consuming them.

If you embrace the Baba Yaga in you, your inauthentic niceness will simply dissolve.

Your life will begin to take on a completely different quality.

You will feel more authentic, more real and you will notice that people are treating you with respect.

I am rooting for you.

© Claire Schrader 2011 Updated 2023

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Join one of my upcoming confidence courses to help you to express yourself authentically so you can be nice without other people taking advantage of you.

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9 thoughts on “The Curse of Being Too Nice”

  1. Pingback: The Curse of Emotions | | Making MovesMaking Moves

  2. Pingback: The Curse of Emotions | | Making MovesMaking Moves

  3. For me also many years my niceness was a curse for me.Whatever situation you have faced some what similar is also faced by me.But still problem continues with me and am happy you get rid of this.But now everything will stop after reading your article i came across the reason as why such things happens with me.Thanks for sharing the article,it seems to be very helpful to me.I am book marking your site as this helps me to solve many of my problems with the help of your views and opinion.
    Jazz George

    1. Yeah, I know it very well to be to nice.. People want everythime more and more – and they dont stop.. The feeling to make everything for other people is destroying a personality.. The most important thing I have learned in the last year, was to say “no!”. Thank you for this great article!

  4. While you discussed the evils of being nice, when it came to stating what exactly needs to be done for a solution, you aren’t very clear. You are vague and verbose.

    Please advise unambiguously what is your solution? What needs to be done? How one should act?

    Please make it plain and clear.

    1. Thanks Sanjay. I’m sorry your feel I’m being ambiguous. There’s only so much you can say in an article. The process is complex and its not something you can achieve reading an article. I do explain how in my book From Wallflower to Sunflower. Also you can read this information in my FAQ How does the Sunflower Effect build lasting confidence? Most people join my courses because this si where you’re going to get guaranteed results.

  5. I have spent my life being too nice and trying to please other people and all it did was deny who I was and make me ill.
    One day I just exploded and I have been exploding ever since.
    I really relate to this article and I have participated in many of Claire’s workshops but I do feel there is a huge part of me that still likes to be nice and it is driving me mad!
    So until the next workshop Claire!

    1. Hi Lela Thanks for this. I don’t think you should be too hard on yourself. There’s a part of me that likes to be nice too! It really is OK. Perhaps you can begin to like that part and see if there are ways that you can use it to empower yourself. A message delivered with love and caring – and dare I say it that is also “nice” – so long as it is authentic and genuinely felt – can land softer with another person and can be twice as effective as a reactive response – which is anyway triggered by other hurts. See this article in which when I though I was being nice and ineffective, I was actually being very effective! I hope to see you very soon!!!

  6. Pingback: Article: Overcoming negative emotions through drama

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