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9 Bad Things Happen When You’re Too Nice

9 Bad Things Happen When You’re Too Nice

I used to be a nice person.  I would always put others before myself, and do everything in my power to appease those around me.  I volunteered to do the bulk of the work for projects at my job.  I backed down from my requests if they inconvenienced anyone else.  And my free time was spent giving, giving and giving.

The end result, however, was not what I had hoped it would be.  I felt tired and moody, because I was not caring for myself physically.  As I volunteered to do more and more, people began to expect that I would do everything for them.  I became resentful as my dreams were put on the back burner, and I desperately craved the attention and validation that I was not able to give myself.

We all want to be selfless, but in neglecting our own needs, we diminish our ability to do so.  In the article, “How Selflessness Makes Us Selfish,” published on the Counseling Blog, the author states that when we do not meet our own needs, we begin to seek them from external sources, resulting in behavior that looks selfish.  If we want to be more kind and giving, we actually need to be a little LESS “nice.”

Here are some bad things that happen when you are too nice:

1. If you are always giving, people will expect that of you.

In the article, “5 Ways Being Too Nice Can Become Negative,” published on The Power of Positivity, the author states that if you don’t set boundaries, you will be viewed as a doormat and taken advantage of.  Valuing yourself, making sure your needs are met, and establishing limits does not mean that you do not have sympathy for those around you.  It just means that your needs are important as well.

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I thought that people would like me better and see me as more valuable if I gave as much as I could.  Instead, I found that people appreciated it less.  Those around us will value us as much as we value ourselves.  As I began to set limits and ask for help when I needed it, people began to notice and appreciate my contributions.

2. You will develop unrealistic expectations of others.

According to the Power of Positivity, when you are being too nice to others, you develop unrealistic expectations for them to do the same.  When they do not meet these expectations, you may become angry and resentful.

I have noticed this in my own life.  I would go above and beyond for any of my friends, and I took it personally when they were not willing to do the same for me.  What I did not understand was that they were taking care of their own needs, and that it was my responsibility to do the same for myself.

3. People will come to you only when they need something.

The Power of Positivity states that when you are too nice to people, they will only see you as a means to an end.  People will only come to you when they think you can help them out, because they are seeing you only as a tool to help them meet their goals.  This pattern can spiral out of control if you do not set boundaries to nip it as soon as it starts.

I saw this pattern starting in my own life, and it quickly became overwhelming.  Being able to gently say “no,” without providing too many reasons or arguing it, was key.  At times, I would offer to help the person get themself organized so that they could help themself, or I would refer them to other people and resources.

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4. You will forget about being kind to yourself.

According to the Power of Positivity, when you are busy taking care of everyone else, you will forget to be kind to yourself.  This can lead to your basic needs not being met, and spiral into depression and burn-out.

I found that my over-giving distracted me from the sources of pain and suffering that were within myself.  I was seeking validation externally, and I did not believe that I had any value outside of other people’s opinions of me.  When I backed off on the constant giving, I was able to spend some time looking within and learning to rely on myself for validation.  In the end, this allowed me to be more kind and understanding.

5. You will be seen as being weak.

In the article “5 Ways Being Too Nice Can Hurt You,” written by Jessica Stillman and published on Inc, Stillman reports that being too nice can lead other people to see you as being weak.  Not only can this result in other people taking advantage of you, but it can also lead people to not see you as a strong leader or authority.

In my job, I found that when I gave too much and didn’t establish enough boundaries, people did not give me credit for my accomplishments.  Because I did not value myself, they did not notice all that I had done.

6. You will attract needy people.

According to Stillman, when you are too nice you will attract people who are needy and manipulative.  These people see an opportunity to take advantage of you, because you have not established boundaries with them.

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I noticed this in my own life.  I would spend hours “supporting” friends on Facebook, to the point where I was not getting enough sleep.  I learned that it is okay to be a good friend and to be there for people, but it is also okay to let them know that I will only be available for a short amount of time on certain days.

7. People will not trust you.

Stillman states that because so few people are truly nice, when you are too nice, people will wonder if you have an ulterior motive.  You are likely to be met with mistrust, which will lead to difficulties in establishing relationships.

I found that before I learned to establish boundaries, I was never truly accepted into the group, both at work at in my social interactions.  When I began to set limits and show that I valued myself more, other people began to do the same.

8. You may become needy.

According to the Counseling Blog, when you are not meeting your own needs, you will subconsciously seek to get those needs met in other places.  This can result in clingy, needy behavior in relationships, as well as constantly seeking validation.

I found that, surprisingly, I engaged in both of these behaviors before I learned to stand up for myself.  I was always giving, rather than meeting my own needs for validation, so I constantly sought it from those around me.  When I learned to value myself, my clingy behavior stopped.

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9. You become more likely to engage in addictive behaviors.

The Counseling Blog states that when you are not able to see your own value within yourself, you are more likely to engage in addiction-type behaviors in order to deal with stress.  When you are constantly over-giving, you may seek escape by overspending, overeating, or other similar behaviors.

I found that I engaged in a lot of these behaviors.  I was always spending too much money and indulging in junk food, when I felt overwhelmed by obligations for which I received no credit.  When I began to value myself, my addictions lessened.

While it is great to be nice, giving too much and not establishing boundaries will limit–not increase–your ability to be kind to those around you.  Value yourself first, and you will begin to value everyone else around you.

Featured photo credit: Young woman in the field via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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