There is a big difference between being nice and being a people-pleaser
Humility is the language of humans. It is the currency to make a successful and caring ecosystem of which we are a part. Humility is an attitude of spiritual modesty that comes from understanding our place in the larger order of things. It doesn’t entail taking our desires, successes, or failings too seriously. Aristotle understood humility as a moral virtue, sandwiched between the vices of arrogance and moral weakness. Like Socrates, he believed that humility must include accurate self-knowledge and a generous acknowledgment of the qualities of others that avoid distortion and extremes.
An accurate understanding of our strengths and weaknesses is still a core feature of current definitions of humility. Through the centuries, the importance of humility as a moral character virtue has faded. Today, self-realization and enhancing our self-worth are our highest aspirations. Precisely, because it provides an antidote to many worrying tendencies of our age, such as arrogance, greed, and self-centeredness (all of which also have devastating consequences for our democracies and our planet).
A humble mindset has significant positive effects on our cognitive, interpersonal, and decision-making skills. Humility is directly related to our ability and willingness to learn. Humble people are better learners and problem solvers.
Humble students who are genuinely open to feedback often overtake their more talented peers who think so highly of their own abilities that they reject all advice. Some studies have found that humility is more important as a predictive performance indicator.
Humility in our leaders, moreover, fosters trust, engagement, and creative strategic thinking, and generally boosts performance. Humility is also related to a general increase in positive emotions. Moreover, humility fosters self-forgiveness.
Those who lack humility are more prone to make assumptions about others, feel superior to them, and dramatically overvalue their knowledge and talents in comparison to others.
But humility has nothing to do with meekness or weakness. And neither does it mean being self-effacing or submissive. It does not mean that you have to accept whatever is coming to you just to please others. You do not need to shift your behavior or attitude to fit in/match a group. By doing so you can please the group or a person but you will lose your identity and value system in the end. One needs to be able to filter out all the noise to discover the facts by looking at an issue objectively, gathering information, analyzing it, and then forming a judgment about it. Saying “YES” to everything is not humbleness. At their best, yes-people are open-minded, open-hearted, well-intentioned folks who just want to be loved and/or seize the day. And because saying ‘yes’ is easier than saying ‘no’, declining can make things difficult and it’s done too often, the choice can reflect on you negatively. But by not filtering out what seeks “yes” and what deserves your “No”, people can take advantage of you and you will feel used just because you are too humble and can’t say “NO”. While there is definitely an art in being able to say “No” politely, picking your battles wisely and authentically is also part of the equation. Always signaling your mind by saying “No” does not make you a bad person at all because saying “yes” to everything doesn’t make you some positivity pioneer, either. Furthermore, being a good person isn’t so much about a yes or no person so much it is about having a yes or no personality and figuring out what actually works for you as a person or as a team. And if we can agree on anything, it is that we’re all unique in some way or the other and simply lean towards one temperament or another. There is a big difference between being nice and being a people-pleaser. People-pleasing is a curse. It causes anxiety, depression, unnecessary guilt, irrational thinking, and a lack of assertiveness. Not a good combination for our mental health and long-term personal success. At some point, constantly making yourself available to others can take an emotional toll. You may find that you neglect your own needs because you fear disappointing others when they ask for your help.
If you find it difficult to tell others ‘no’ when they ask you for something, you may be a pleaser for many. Many people-pleasers prefer making up excuses later to get out of a commitment instead of saying ‘no’ from the start. If you do follow through, you can regret not having the strength to stand up for yourself. Your worth depends on how others see you. You need validation from others to feel good about yourself and this is a complete personality disorder.
Let you start recognizing your limits and placing boundaries around how you spend your time. Think about the bandwidth you possess before making commitments. Try to expend your energy only on those things that align with your values and make you feel good later as well.
It is not a crime to say ‘no’. Your friends and family will understand, and they will still care about you, even when you cannot make certain social engagements. And if your friends do not get it, it is probably time to find new friends. When we truly care about someone we will still care about them if they miss an activity. Besides, when it comes to a job, say ‘no’ to everything that is not essential to your work. People will respect you for doing your job appropriately and not wasting time on meetings and coffee breaks. Broken commitments just because you did not want to hurt anyone by saying ‘no’, can earn you a bad name and potentially dent your reputation as a professional. We often do not look at saying calculated “no” as a skill or something that is essential to success and happiness. Saying ‘no’ makes us uncomfortable. But if we learn how to say no, we can reclaim control over our lives. Saying ‘yes’ to everything is not the solution if you’re not doing it for the right reaso
By saying ‘no’ to someone else, you’re saying ‘yes’ to yourself. Have the courage to say your ‘no’ to the things which deserve your ‘no’ as an individual or as a professional to set your identity mapping your own route where you guide strangers to pleasant and unpleasant spots.
The author is the Principal of Radiant Public School Anantnag. Feedback at [email protected]