Yes! You can do both at the same time, but few people know where this healthy balance lies. May people are under the impression that kindness is weakness, which means that they believe that it’s a zero-sum game. They assume that you cannot be kind to others and yourself at the same time. I’m here to debunk this assumption.
Although it’s true when it goes to extremes, a healthy balance of kindness is a virtue! It’s all about keeping in that happy middle.
First, let me discuss the imbalances and extremes here:
1. Too kind or “nice.” When the niceness goes to extremes- when you’re “too nice” and let others use and walk on you, you set yourself up to be a doormat and that’s never good. A person who’s too nice is often so because they seek approval from others. So, they say yes to everything- even things they’d rather say no to. This isn’t healthy and it only attracts bullies and others who will only use and abuse you.
2. Not kind at all- a jerk or worse, a bully. Because you’ve been hurt one too many times, you no longer care about the feelings of other people, and you treat others like crap and use them to achieve your own agenda. If you go this route, you’ll only miss opportunities to make good friends and improve your relationships with your family. You’ll always be lonely because no one wants to be around a jerk and everyone despises a bully.
The trick is to extend kindness to others and reserve your jerky side for only those who use, abuse, and disrespect you. Say no if someone asks or demands that you do something you don’t want to do. Refuse to get sucked into drama.
Extend to the janitor the same respect you give to the CEO. Treat the poor and homeless with dignity. Befriend the kid who has no friends at school. Be kind to the combat veteran with severe PTSD and who everyone thinks is crazy. Give your seat to the elderly woman using a walker. Be kind to those who are powerless and cannot do anything for you. For that’s the real test of character.
Stand up for yourself when arrogant bullies attack you and don’t back down. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, just like the next person. Command the same well-treatment that everyone else has a right to.
Don’t be too nice, but don’t be an unfeeling jerk either. And, for the love of Pete, never be a bully! Know that there’s a happy middle and stay in it.
With knowledge comes empowerment!