These are my thoughts and opinions. I’m sure there are studies somewhere to back some of this up, but I’m not going to go looking for them. You’re welcome to if you’d like. In addition, this article in no way states that you are at fault for your illness. Illnesses are a complicated stew filled with too many ingredients that often aren’t included on the label. This is just possibly ONE of the many ingredients – not the whole meal. Just being nice isn’t enough to get you or keep you sick.
At the beginning of 2018, I was a beta tester for a great course in reducing chronic pain. It was run by Kristen Horner Warren and was one of the coolest things I’ve done in ages. A portion of this course was supported by information from the book: The Mindbody Prescription by John Sarno. In that book and then subsequently in the course, Kristen talked about the very real issue of autoimmune disorders being more prevalent in females.
One of the reasons given for this phenomenon is that women feel a stronger responsibility for being considered ‘nice’. This act of niceness stems from a few factors.
You don’t want to deal with upsetting other people. You tell yourselves that you act a certain way because you are a nice person but really, you are just doing everything you can to avoid someone else’s unpleasant emotions. This leads to emotional suppression in yourself which then leads to inflammation, pain, etc. This is the most dangerous one because you are saying in your head: “But, I AM a nice person!” Errrrrr. No you’re not. You’re afraid to speak the truth about what you want and need so people are walking all over you. You, my friend, are a people pleaser to your own disadvantage.
You were taught that as a female, it is your job to be nurturing. Newsflash: not all of us got that gene. This expectation has you offering drinks, food, and comfort to people when you don’t really feel like it because you assume it’s expected of you. (Side note: Earth people, according to the 5 elements do this naturally and even enjoy it, but not all of us are Earthy – if you want to know your element, go take the quiz 🙂
You are protecting your reputation. This is a follow up to number 1. In addition to not wanting to upset other people, you are worried about what people will think of you. So, you follow some arbitrary rules of what makes a ‘good person’ and you get sick in the process. Let me tell you a little something: there will always be people that like you, there will always be people that dislike you. Some of them will dislike you for being too nice. It’s an impossible to win situation. You do you. Let people think what they will.
Your first job in this world is to be nice to yourself. Being kind to yourself sometimes means not fitting into society’s expectations of who you should be. Brene Brown says:
“You cannot live a brave life without disappointing some people”
No matter who you are or what you do, some people will be disappointed in you. Shape shifting all the time to meet other people’s needs is EXHAUSTING. Mentally and physically. If you find yourself in the words of this post, here’s your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
1. For one week: Ask yourself regularly throughout the day (5-10x): What do I want / need RIGHT NOW? Write these things down and get familiar with them. This is harder than it seems. When you are used to being a people pleaser, you often fail to pay attention to your own wants and desires.
2. For the following week: Practice saying no to something every single day at least once. Just say No. It’s a full sentence.
3. For the 3rd week: Repeat #1. Cross check your answers. Are they similar? Have they evolved? I promise there will be some changes. Congrats, you’re becoming more yourself by the second.
4. Forever more: Start adding in your natural and true wants and needs to your everyday life. Say no when you need to (for WHATEVER reason).
I’m so proud of you already. You’ve got this. I’m behind you.
Know someone who needed to hear this, um, yesterday? Share it with them!