Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty

987baz

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#1
I have just finished reading (listening to) this book.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076VVH14M/ref=sspa_dk_detail_0?psc=1

Dr Aziz, is basically talking about the make nice program and how it affects us and ways to overcome it, via exercises and understanding. He basically says that we need to become more authentic and that the opposite of being "nice" is not being an a#$hole but being your authentic self. It's a light read/listen, but it is lengthy. I realized that my make nice program, is indeed, there, but only in sertain circumstances which in itself was valuable.

from the publisher:
Are you too nice?

If you find it hard to be assertive, directly ask for what you want, or say "no" to others, then you just might be suffering from too much niceness.

In this controversial book, world-renowned confidence expert, Dr. Aziz Gazipura, takes an incisive look at the concept of nice. Through his typical style, Dr. Aziz uses engaging stories, humor, and disarming vulnerability to cut through the nice conditioning and liberate the most bold, expressive, authentic version of you.

You'll discover how to:

  • Easily say "no" when you want to and need to
  • Confidently and effectively ask for what you want
  • Speak up more freely in all your relationships
  • Eliminate feelings of guilt, anxiety, and worry about what others will think

A reader/lisetner review:
Helpful, insightful, and fun

This books is insightful, fun, and incredibly useful. Dr. Gazipura delivers this book in a really fun way that added a lot to experience, so I’m glad I listened to the audiobook rather than reading the paperback. It can feel somewhat repetitive at times, but for “nice people” like myself, it’s necessary to really getting the message. Like many others, I felt this book was made for me and really spoke to me. Highly recommend for anyone who struggles with overpleasing others and underpleasing yourself.[/
 

987baz

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#3
No worries nicklebleu, the audio version is about 18 hours long, so strap in for a long one.

Other things he talks about are how to say no, figuring out what you want rather than always putting other people first, not being responsible for others feelings, how to be ok with being uncomfortable and getting through it and how to let go of trying to get other peoples approval to name a few.

I liked the book a lot, it felt real, if that makes sense, I guess because he himself has struggled with this being nice program for quite some time and he gives plenty of examples of his own shortcomings and his success.
 

Marina9

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#4
Thanks for this recommendation Baz. This is one of the main things that came up during my NO sessions, specially the first ones. The whole feeling of anger because I tend to bottle up emotions. Little by little I think i've become more assertive, but also sometimes I still think I need to work on the whole not being rude or something when saying what I think, finding the balance.

I found that he also has some good YouTube videos on different topics. Will look into them and also the book, thanks again!

 

latulipenoire

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
#5
Other things he talks about are how to say no, figuring out what you want rather than always putting other people first, not being responsible for others feelings, how to be ok with being uncomfortable and getting through it and how to let go of trying to get other peoples approval to name a few.
I'm definitely getting this book now, thank you for recommending it, 987baz. I'm striving to do all these things for some years now, without much success, in spite of some very good feedbacks I've got here and in my job. So maybe it's time to stick to a better plan and method.
 

Beorn

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
#6
Thanks for the recommendation 987Baz, I've added it to my reading list. One of the things we learnt in my Uni course, back in the day when universities actually gave practical advice, was to spend a week saying "no" to people without giving them a reason why. I think we tend to give up responsibility and just do what other people want us to do, or we fear being abandoned or disliked. It's something I've struggled with for a long time as well and find it an almost automatic response to say 'yes'.
 

987baz

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#7
Thanks for this recommendation Baz. This is one of the main things that came up during my NO sessions, specially the first ones. The whole feeling of anger because I tend to bottle up emotions. Little by little I think i've become more assertive, but also sometimes I still think I need to work on the whole not being rude or something when saying what I think, finding the balance.

I found that he also has some good YouTube videos on different topics. Will look into them and also the book, thanks again!
I think I "found" this book for a similar reason, the NO sessions have IMO definitely contributed to me wanting to take this being nice program on. As I said before the book made me realize that it is only in certain circumstances that it really gets ingaged, but damn, when it does, it takes over! After reading Insight and another book on intuition, I too believe I have made steps to becoming much more assertive, or as my kinesiologist and the author of this book puts it, more authentic.


I'm definitely getting this book now, thank you for recommending it, 987baz. I'm striving to do all these things for some years now, without much success, in spite of some very good feedbacks I've got here and in my job. So maybe it's time to stick to a better plan and method.
I guess, as with all these programs that we want to overcome, we have to do! I have understood intellectually about having this program for quite some time, but it has not been until recently that I have actually lived it, and put things into action. Some of the exercises that are in the book are pretty uncomfortable, and that, as the author says, is the point. We need to be uncomfortable and to be ok with it, after all that is how we grow :)

Thanks for the recommendation 987Baz, I've added it to my reading list. One of the things we learnt in my Uni course, back in the day when universities actually gave practical advice, was to spend a week saying "no" to people without giving them a reason why. I think we tend to give up responsibility and just do what other people want us to do, or we fear being abandoned or disliked. It's something I've struggled with for a long time as well and find it an almost automatic response to say 'yes'.
This exercise is in the book as well, just the simple act of saying no can be quite confronting as simple as it seems. I found this out the hard way a few years back now when I had my side business of making music videos and photography. I was ill one weekend, and I had already scheduled a weekend long video shoot with a band I knew quite well. I was so terrified of telling them I couldn't do it but was in no fit state to do anything of worth. After almost driving myself insane with all the, what wil they think of me ruminations, I finally spoke to the band and told them I would not be able to do any shooting for them as I was not well. With baited breath I waited for them to yell, scream and tell me I was an A##hole etc.... The first thing they said was, Oh no man, so sorry to hear you're not well, hope you get better soon. All that angst and anxiety I felt was gone, and it finally dawned on me that I am the one who was placing all those expectations on myself, not anyone else, and who cares if they think you're an idiot for not helping them, if they care about you they will fine with it, if they don't. well, do you need them in your life, nope!
 

latulipenoire

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
#8
This exercise is in the book as well, just the simple act of saying no can be quite confronting as simple as it seems. I found this out the hard way a few years back now when I had my side business of making music videos and photography. I was ill one weekend, and I had already scheduled a weekend long video shoot with a band I knew quite well. I was so terrified of telling them I couldn't do it but was in no fit state to do anything of worth. After almost driving myself insane with all the, what wil they think of me ruminations, I finally spoke to the band and told them I would not be able to do any shooting for them as I was not well. With baited breath I waited for them to yell, scream and tell me I was an A##hole etc.... The first thing they said was, Oh no man, so sorry to hear you're not well, hope you get better soon. All that angst and anxiety I felt was gone, and it finally dawned on me that I am the one who was placing all those expectations on myself, not anyone else, and who cares if they think you're an idiot for not helping them, if they care about you they will fine with it, if they don't. well, do you need them in your life, nope!
You've said it all, it seems to me that the more we suffer beforehand while expecting and assuming that something will occur (often something so bad we can't even breathe or think correctly) the more the universe will play with us - kinda like saying to us "you know you should've just done what you were able to do, you know it's impossible and futile to try to control others' reactions and feelings! You had no need to worry at all!". But the negative emotional reactions are so much faster than everything else in our machines! I wish we could just slow time and react all the times with everything we've got! Well, that's my goal!
 

beetlemaniac

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
#9
Thanks for the suggestion Baz! Reminds me of the times I've interacted with my boss and how I become so wibbly-wobbly when faced with authority. It's like I sold my brain over to them because I had no confidence in my own ability to think. It kind of comes down to that - we're giving away our ability to reason objectively out of fear of inciting the displeasure of others. We're literally afraid of the truth when that's all that we have, right? Even if that truth is only our subjective personal truth - what we've learned about our likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. It's still important because who knows you better than you do? No-one! Well that's not really true because you can't know yourself fully without getting feedback from others about what kind of person you are (Insight comes to mind!). But still, we do have feelings - and those are not something that others are normally privy to, and they do hold the key to living more authentic lives, osit.
 

987baz

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#10
I think there is a case for strategic enclosure at times, which does muddy the waters. In some cases, not being fully authentic may be useful IMO, more so in a work/business environment. I can't just tell my boss his/her ideas are rubbish and I know better even if, I think this is true. I think the key is knowing inside what we are thinking and why, and then acting on it or not as the circumstance dictates!?
If we are not aware why we curtail to authority and it is just part of our conditioning/programming then we are ignorant of our authentic self and lying to ourselves? So, I think like with most things, we need to understand ourselves and our motivations, and, be aware of the possible consequences.
 
#11
I think it partially comes down to an anticipation of others reaction which is not a good thing at all from what I've learned so far. We can make a mountain of delusional thoughts while daydreaming about it and the actual response will never be what we think it is. Our natural ability to be empathic causes us to expect some reactions and thus avoid to not be nice by fear of the feeling of disappointment.
I know that when I took (finally!) the courage to say what I had to say, I've always been surprised by the reaction which almost never was what I expected. Better to stay in the present and get over rumination.
I agree that it has to be done with strategic enclosure and external consideration in mind.

Thanks for the suggestion, added to the list.
 

Chu

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
#12
Thanks for the recommendation, I'll take a look.

One factor that I think hasn't been mentioned yet is that saying "yes", a lot of the times doesn't only stem from fear of rejection, but from a drive to preserve one's self-image as a good and kind person, a martyr, etc. "Fear of rejection" can be very real many times, but others, it could also be a narrative to avoid facing our own hubris.

In the same token, I've seen people who just say "no" mechanically, selfishly, and for no good reason. That's not quite like being assertive, and more like being stuck at a rebellious stage.

And we forget how many shades there are between a yes and a no, and how many ways of being assertive there are. For example:

- Saying "no" when someone oversteps boundaries is a good thing when done strategically, and it may help them too in the long run.
- Saying "no" just for the sake of feeling like we are in control doesn't lead to actually being more authentic, but more like a jerk.
- Saying "yes, I'll do it as soon as I can", could be a way of saying "no", but "yes" when we CAN actually do something, and not when we feel we must in order to be "good".
- Saying "no" just because we are cranky ---> bad idea.
- Saying "I'll think about it" can be useful, and considerate in some cases. Then we can decide from a calm perspective if it's yes or no.

etc., etc.


Then, there are the "yes" and "no" that we tell ourselves:
- Saying "no" to our programs and weaknesses is a "yes" to the better parts of ourselves.
- Saying "yes" to learning and doing something new is a "no" to our fears, or a temporary "no" to other people or things in order to free up energy to accomplish our goals, but ultimately, it's a "yes" to others whom we can hopefully help if we become more authentic.

etc. etc.

So, I think people are in a spectrum of all of this, and that it's important to recognize where our default tendencies lean towards and in which kinds of situations, so as to better adjust them. It's about finding more balance, and taking the law of three into account. (The is right and wrong - yes and no-, and the specific situation). Trying new approaches can be useful too (often to discover that what we anticipated would happen doesn't happen at all!)

IOW, a "no" can be just as mechanical and emotionally driven as a "yes", so it's about becoming more conscious, knowing our limits, our values, our goals, and respecting those a bit more, while doing our best to respect those same things in others.

Anyway, just some thoughts on the matter, but maybe the author already covers these in the book. So, FWIW.
 

Yas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#13
Thanks for sharing the book 987baz, I started it yesterday.

I think it's interesting that although the author seems a bit too optimistic sometimes (like the typical self-help author), he also says that this is not a magic wand that will solve all our problems and that as soon as we manage to overcome one thing in life, then there is another more difficult thing to accomplish. That seems realistic.

IOW, a "no" can be just as mechanical and emotionally driven as a "yes", so it's about becoming more conscious, knowing our limits, our values, our goals, and respecting those a bit more, while doing our best to respect those same things in others.
Very good points Chu. In the book, so far, he tells his own experience of how he realised that he had to change, and he says that for some time he learnt how to be appear more confident and assertive but he didn't really feel like that in the inside, it wasn't a true change in his being, so to say, although he had some improvement in this period. So he had to change again, this time more deeply. So I think he addresses a bit of that mechanical "no", but not very directly, so it is important to keep in mind what you wrote while thinking about this and reading the book. I just started, though.

For me, something very interesting that he said was that "nice" lives in fear, not in virtue. So while we may think that virtues such as kindness, compassion and love are related to "niceness", the truth is that this kind of niceness is more related to constant fear of rejection but also because one wants to be seen as good, instead of being good. As you say Chu, it usually has a lot to do with pride and self-importance too. He says that true virtue (true kindness, compassion and love, etc.) come when we are less nice. IOW, virtue does not come from fear.

I think this is a very important point and something that I want to learn too.
 

whitecoast

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#14
Thanks for the recommendation Baz. I just got a copy of this and will start reading. I feel this is an area of my personality that needs a lot of work, because I have very high agreeableness . I think that is because I was educated to repress my anger and ability self-assert. So it's more just part of my unconscious shadow, where disagreeableness is much more uncontrolled and therefore can be more destructive. So while trying to understand the feelings behind that, I think reading this book and doing some conscious mental exercises can work out the mental half of the equation.

I'm reminded of a scene from the book Starship Troopers where a Sergeant takes too much of a liking to one cadet under his training, and who ends up getting struck by the cadet out of anger once. The field captain court martials, lashes, and discharges the cadet, but the Captain and the Sergeant have a long talk about who (in his mind) actually deserved the lashes.

Zim said: “Sir, I request transfer to a combat team.”
Frankel answered: “I can’t hear you, Charlie. My tin ear is bothering me again.”
Zim: “I’m quite serious, sir. This isn’t my sort of duty.”
Frankel said testily, “Quit bellyaching your troubles to me, Sergeant. At least wait until we’ve disposed of duty matters. What in the world happened?”
Zim said stiffly, “Captain, that boy doesn’t rate ten lashes.”
Frankel answered, “Of course he doesn’t. You know who goofed—and so do I.”
“Yes, sir. I know.”
“Well? You know even better than I do that these kids are wild animals at this stage. You know when it’s safe to turn your back on them and when it isn’t. You know the doctrine and the standing orders about article nine-oh-eight-oh [the article forbidding officers from striking superiors]—you must never give them a chance to violate it. Of course some of them are going to try it—if they weren’t aggressive they wouldn’t be material for the M.I. They’re docile in ranks; it’s safe enough to turn your back when they’re eating, or sleeping, or sitting on their tails and being lectured. But get them out in the field in a combat exercise, or anything that gets them keyed up and full of adrenaline, and they’re as explosive as a hatful of mercury fulminate. You know that, all you instructors know that; you’re trained—trained to watch for it, trained to snuff it out before it happens. Explain to me how it was possible for an untrained recruit to hang a mouse on your eye? He should never have laid a hand on you; you should have knocked him cold when you saw what he was up to. So why weren’t you on the bounce? Are you slowing down?”
“I don’t know,” Zim answered slowly. “I guess I must be.”
“Hmm! If true, a combat team is the last place for you. But it’s not true. Or wasn’t true the last time you and I worked out together, three days ago. So what slipped?”
Zim was slow in answering. “I think I had him tagged in my mind as one of the safe ones.”
“There are no such.”
“Yes, sir. But he was so earnest, so doggedly determined to sweat it out—he didn’t have any aptitude but he kept on trying—that I must have done that, subconsciously.” Zim was silent, then added, “I guess it was because I liked him.”
Frankel snorted. “An instructor can’t afford to like a man.”
“I know it, sir. But I do. They’re a nice bunch of kids. We’ve dumped all the real twerps by now—Hendrick’s only shortcoming, aside from being clumsy, was that he thought he knew all the answers. I didn’t mind that; I knew it all at that age myself. The twerps have gone home and those that are left are eager, anxious to please, and on the bounce—as cute as a litter of collie pups. A lot of them will make soldiers.” “So that was the soft spot. You liked him . . . so you failed to clip him in time. So he winds up with a court and the whip and a B.C.D. (bad conduct discharge). Sweet.”
Zim said earnestly, “I wish to heaven there were some way for me to take that flogging myself, sir.”
“You’d have to take your turn, I outrank you. What do you think I’ve been wishing the past hour? What do you think I was afraid of from the moment I saw you come in here sporting a shiner? I did my best to brush it off with administrative punishment and the young fool wouldn’t let well enough alone. But I never thought he would be crazy enough to blurt it out that he’d hung one on you—he’s stupid; you should have eased him out of the outfit weeks ago . . . instead of nursing him along until he got into trouble.
....
“My fault, Captain. That’s why I want to be transferred. Uh, sir, I think it’s best for the outfit.”
“You do, eh? But I decide what’s best for my battalion, not you, Sergeant. Charlie, who do you think pulled your name out of the hat? And why? Think back twelve years. You were a corporal, remember? Where were you?”
“Here, as you know quite well, Captain. Right here on this same godforsaken prairie—and I wish I had never come back to it!”
“Don’t we all. But it happens to be the most important and the most delicate work in the Army—turning unspanked young cubs into soldiers. Who was the worst unspanked young cub in your section?”
“Mmm . . .” Zim answered slowly. “I wouldn’t go so far as to say you were the worst, Captain.”
“You wouldn’t, eh? But you’d have to think hard to name another candidate. I hated your guts, ‘Corporal’ Zim.”
Zim sounded surprised, and a little hurt. “You did, Captain? I didn’t hate you—I rather liked you.”
“So? Well, ‘hate’ is the other luxury an instructor can never afford. We must not hate them, we must not like them; we must teach them. But if you liked me then—mmm, it seemed to me that you had very strange ways of showing it. Do you still like me? Don’t answer that; I don’t care whether you do or not—or, rather, I don’t want to know, whichever it is. Never mind; I despised you then and I used to dream about ways to get you. But you were always on the bounce and never gave me a chance to buy a nine-oh-eight-oh court of my own. So here I am, thanks to you. Now to handle your request: You used to have one order that you gave to me over and over again when I was a boot. I got so I loathed it almost more than anything else you did or said. Do you remember it? I do and now I’ll give it back to you: ‘Soldier, shut up and soldier!’”
“Yes, sir.”
....
“I want [the instructors] to be eight times as cautious as they have been. I want them to keep their distance, I want them to have eyes in the backs of their heads. I want them to be as alert as a mouse at a cat show. Bronski—you have a special word with Bronski; he has a tendency to fraternize.”
“I’ll straighten Bronski out, sir.”
“See that you do. Because when the next kid starts swinging, it’s got to be stop-punched—not muffed, like today. The boy has got to be knocked cold and the instructor must do so without ever being touched himself—or I’ll damned well break him for incompetence. Let them know that. They’ve got to teach those kids that it’s not merely expensive but impossible to violate nine-oh-eight-oh . . . that even trying it wins a short nap, a bucket of water in the face, and a very sore jaw—and nothing else.”
“Yes, sir. It’ll be done.”
“It had better be done. I will not only break the instructor who slips, I will personally take him ’way out on the prairie and give him lumps . . . because I will not have another one of my boys strung up to that whipping post through sloppiness on the part of his teachers. Dismissed.”
I hope the reference is relevant enough here. Military training is quite a different context from workplace, familial, or even Work relationships, but it seems like the consequences letting people step out of line in their treatment of you is the same whatever the circumstances. It seems like the key to self-assertiveness is not only to convince people that it’s difficult to take advantage of you, but in fact impossible (like violating article 9080 in the quote). And also, as Laura says, we have a responsibility not only not to abuse others, but not to accept abuse either. Both are bad. Again, I’m still learning, and just sharing my thoughts. I’ll report back on Baz’s book once I finish it.
 
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