Yep, I call myself Alex, and I’m tired of being so nice.
Growing up, I learned to put other people’s feelings ahead of mine – both when I had big red flags waving behind my eyes and when I just felt a little uneasy.
Double that if the other person was older or a man – or both. I consistently deferred to others under the assumption that they knew more or knew better. (Queue yesterday’s post about self-worth and trust…)
It’s my time to be treated with respect and consideration. It’s my time to be nice to me.
Why now? What changed? Honestly, Facebook.
Always-in-your-face social media, combined with running a business in which I expose aspects of my life and emotions daily, is forcing me to pay attention to the little whispers of what is too far or not right for me.
My first year in business, I let anyone join my email list and work with me.
I was so excited about connecting with people and spreading my message, I tolerated people whose emails made me dread opening my inbox. I kept Facebook followers who made me cringe every time they commented. I put up with snide remarks and condescending “compliments”.
If my business is my online home, my Facebook page is my online living room. I won’t be uncomfortable in my own world.
At least, not if I can help it – luckily, I can.
So lately I started deleting, un-friending, unfollowing, and unsubscribing.
- I used unroll.me to get off email lists I don’t enjoy seeing in my inbox.
- I unsubscribed readers who I don’t feel safe or happy sharing my life thoughts with.
- I blocked people from my business Facebook page who leave uninspiring comments.
- I unfriended personal Facebook friends – some, because they post negative or inflammatory things; others, just because.
That’s the key. I don’t need a reason. You can do whatever you want in your world, because it’s YOUR world.
It’s possible someone else will feel momentarily hurt, but are their feelings more important than weighing yourself down with the unnecessary burden of caring about everyone else?
Because here’s what happens when you put others first – you don’t have time and energy to dedicate to what’s really important to you.
Like I wrote yesterday, learning to be compassionate, kind, and loving to yourself first and foremost is the only way to live your most satisfying life.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying prioritizing you is easy or painless and you should treat others like a callous jerk. I’m saying prioritizing your feelings is the only way to ensure you feel how you want to feel.
Even when choosing you means hurting others.
If you’re afraid of losing friends because you’re making a healthy, supportive decision for you, were they really your friends to begin with?
Here’s a recent example.
My friend of 16 years was back in the States briefly over New Years. Months ago, I booked a trip to visit with him and catch up. Three days before the trip, I realized flying to Chicago and seeing him was the opposite of what would make me happy.
Not because he did anything wrong, but because I just didn’t want to go.
Normally, I would have sucked it up, ignored my desires, and gone anyway. But all this work I’ve been doing to draw boundaries helped me realize – I don’t have to do ANYTHING I don’t want to do.
Was my friend upset? For sure.
Did I think it would end our friendship completely? Yep.
Was I proud of myself for making a decision in my best interest anyway? Absolutely.
And you know what? After a few days, my friend understood too. Because he’s a real friend, and real friends want you to be happy being you.
So if you’re being drained or feeling less than stellar about certain experiences, commitments, or people in your life – real or virtual, what are you waiting for?
You have my explicit permission to choose you.
Be free. Be brave. Be YOU.