When Trendy* came to see me, she was sporting a fashionable haircut and wearing a hot designer tee and fancy shoes. She gave me a big hug, telling me loudly how grateful she was to be here. When she sat in front of me, she asked me with an even bigger smile and honey voice how I was. If it had not been for her arms crossing in front of her and her physical body positioning away from me as she said these words, one might have confused her for an empowered and dynamic woman. To me, I had just met another nice girl.
Through my talking with her, I found out Trendy was in an unsatisfying marriage, but she had not confronted her husband about it yet because ‘I do not want to hurt his feelings’ was her excuse. I also found out she was frustrated with her employees. When asked if she had confronted them with their lack of performance, she sheepishly said no for she thought ‘they might feel hurt’.
Suddenly, perhaps because she realized she was now being healthily confronted, Trendy blurted out defiantly but with her back retrieving deeply into her chair, “Who likes to be put on the spot anyway!”
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt put on the spot?
At work, Trendy confessed, ‘I do everything for my employees’. When I asked her why, she excused their lack of performance by saying they were ‘young’, ‘a bit immature’, ‘going through a tough time’, … When at home, she excused her husband’s lack of showing up in their relationship by saying he was ‘stressed out’, ‘angry’, ‘not dealing well with his anger’, …
Like many nice girls, Trendy was accustomed to pointing an accusing finger at others while avoiding her own self-truth.
Can you imagine what it feels like to point to the finger at others
for being unhappy?
In tears, Trendy finally admitted she was tired of being unhappy and this is why she was coming to see me.
In a perfect world, what would your life be like right now?
Trendy’s face lit up with hope.
She talked about how she would move out of the house and divorce her husband.
She talked about how she would give her employees the ultimatum to either show up or leave.
She talked about how she would be this genuine laughing person loving her life.
While in my office, nothing stopped Trendy from sharing about the affair she had just had, the guilt and shame she was feeling over it, and what she wanted to do to remedy the situation before her life got worse. I thanked her for her honesty.
That day, she went home with homework to do. I asked her to list 20 things she did not like about her husband. “Why?” she asked dragging the word.
I smiled. “Just because.”
At our next coaching session, Trendy sat down and opened her journal with pride. “I did my homework!” she piped in nicely.
I open directly,
Put an “I” in front of every judgment made.
Trendy looked down at her paper and I could feel the wheels spinning in her head. She feebly uttered, “But… but… this is not me! This is him!”
Like so many, Janie was caught once more being a nice girl, a woman avoiding her own feelings and emotions by focusing onto others.
To her credit, she read her list, often choking up on the words as her truth started to sink in. She looked at me with watery eyes and said,
“I don’t want to be this angry person! I want to be me.”
Let me ask you…
Why do we become nice?
Why do we avoid feeling our feelings and emotions?
I believe the answer is, because we think our life will be better.
Is it though? How was Trendy’s constant avoiding of her feelings and emotions going to advance her goal of becoming genuinely happy with her self?
Clearly, being nice does Not work.
With this in mind…
How do things become better?
I believe, things become better when we focus on
becoming vulnerable. ‘What am I avoiding in myself by being nice?’
becoming intentional. ‘What can I do to address my own emotional void within?’
becoming accountable. ‘How can I hold myself accountable as I learn to fill my own void?’
I could certainly relate to Trendy. I used to be a nice girl, a woman who felt empty inside and focused on others, until I learned to confront my own emotional void and fill it with my loving self.
Here are some rock solid tips to assist you who may suffer from Nice Girl Syndrome:
Vulnerability. Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” By truthfully answering this question for your self, you are confronting your own needs, which gives you an effective chance to fulfill them with your loving self.
Intentionality. “What can I do to give me what I truly want?” While fulfilling our own needs and wants with our self, the desire to avoid our feelings and emotions becomes less and less. Consequently, we start honouring others the same way we honour our self, with a genuine heart.
Have an accountability system/person in place. Though many of us say we ‘know’ being nice does Not work, we often become more aware of our words and actions when another person holds us accountable when they see us reverting to being nice again at the detriment of our own loving self.
Now imagine somebody has just read these tips…
What do you believe will be their greatest challenge?
Before she came to see me, Trendy had all the best intentions in the world, BUT she lacked a solid accountability system. This is why as soon as a confrontation presented itself, Trendy familiarly reverted back to being a nice girl to avoid the chance ‘they might feel hurt’.
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who holds her clients highly accountable so they get to stop running away from their truth, and like Trendy, get to finally honour their true self and become genuinely happier in the process.
For coaching inquiries, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Emotional Intelligence Coach,