This post is for all those who suffer from nice girl syndrome.
You know, the belief that we must be overly nice and accommodating to be loved and accepted.
It’s the fear of confrontation or voicing our opinions in an attempt to not stir the pot or cause confrontation.
Let me start by saying I had no idea I was suffering from nice girl syndrome.
I knew I was seen as a nice person and I knew I had issues saying no but until I learned this I never realized how much of a problem it was causing or how it was holding me back.
But Where Did it Come From…
Nice girl syndrome is what many of us has been conditioned to believe.
Some of us were taught (by our well meaning parents) that as girls must be nice and kind and quiet and not loud, opinionated and assertive.
Society tells us that if we are these things we are a bitch. To us honesty=bitch and not liked. Agreeable=nice and loved.
My nice girl conditioning started when I was a child. I was and I am still praised for being nice, sweet and a lady.
Whereas those who are loud and opinionated are shamed, judged and labeled as being a bitch.
But you know as crazy as it sounds I want a piece of that. I see women and girls who can share themselves and their opinions as strong and uninhibited. It feels so restrictive and fake being a nice girl all. the. time.
I don’t feel like people really know who I am or what I think. It looks so freeing to say what’s on your mind. I get a knot in my stomach every time I “pretend” to be nice or agree when I don’t want to and when I don’t express how I really feel.
After 20 odd years of being praised for being sweet and kind my self worth was tied so deep in being the nice girl that when I’m not nice I fear that I will be judged, ridiculed or even embarrassed.
Sometimes I get so caught up in being the nice girl it feels I don’t really even know who I am.
Ms. nice girl is so embedded it has become who I am, when its not really who I am at all.
Then us nice girls start to wonder.
“And if I’m not nice will they still love me, will they still accept me, will they talk about me, confront me, embarrass me?”
How Do I Know…
So how do you know you are suffering from nice girl syndrome? I’ve rounded up some definitions from some of my favorite blogs.
• You have a hard time expressing your thoughts, feelings and opinions
• You believe you have to be nice to be accepted and loved
• You may not be in touch with you true feelings and opinions
• You find yourself not being authentic with your friends and family
• You have a hard time saying no
• You overcommit and feel resentful of saying yes
• You take care of everyone else before you take care of yourself
• You have a hard time having difficult conversations or you avoid confrontation like the plague
• You have a hard time accepting constructive criticism
• You feel fake
• You over apologize daily
These all stem from the belief that if we share our true selves then we will not be accepted. Or that we will be judged, criticized, or embarrassed.
So how do we let go of the need of approval from others, let our true selves shine and unlearn this idea that by being nice we are loved and accepted?
Let me say from personal experience it takes time and it can sometimes be unconformable.
But it’s not always hard and it does get easier. It can be simple and feel empowering; you just have to be consistent like with any change.
Ways to get out of nice girl syndrome mind frame.
Love and accept yourself for who you are. And work on the things you feel need improvement
Let me tell you, you don’t have to be Ms. Nice girl to be loved and accepted.
Being nice and kind are not bad qualities, its when you choose being nice over showing people who you really are when it becomes a problem.
When you choose to be nice instead of who you really are you are doing yourself an injustice.
But to first feel open with sharing your true self with others you have to first love and accept yourself both the good and the bad.
You can’t always be perfect and pleasant all the time.
We all have flaws and imperfections. Learn to love your full self, flaws and all and share the real you with those you care about.
Acknowledge that you can sometimes be impatient or have strong opinions.
That’s nothing to hide but rather to acknowledge and embrace. They are what make you you. And work on the things that you feel need improvement.
Work on being honest
This means not only being honest with others but also yourself.
How do you really feel about something?
What opinions do you have regardless of what anyone else thinks?
Share these with people you care about and trust.
You don’t have to hold your tongue all the time. It’s ok to have an opinion, even if its not the same as everyone else’s. Tell people how you feel, even if it is a negative feeling.
Us nice girls tend to hold back our opinions because of fear of being judged or ridiculed.
We sometimes make conclusions about what people will think or what they will say if we speak what’s on our mind. But is it really worth being unauthentic to gain the approval of others?
What are we really sacrificing when we choose to be silent?
I think I would rather be brave and speak my truth than the feeling of being fake anyway.
People will judge you when you are being honest, its just a fact of life.
People will judge you if you don’t say anything either but we don’t have to value their opinion.
We don’t have to let their judgment keep us from telling our truth. Because the fact or the matter people is people will judge you regardless. We can’t control others or what they think.
This may be one of the harder tips but I urge you to take it one step at a time.
Part of the nice girl syndrome is that we feel we have to be agreeable and not ruffle feathers.
This leads of us to agreeing to things that we don’t even want to do or stretching our time too thin.
So I urge you to work on saying no. Something easier is to just not yes right away.
Start telling people that you’ll check your schedule and get back to them.
And really look at your schedule and check in with yourself to see if it is something that you really want to do.
If not tell them no. It may be hard at first but I promise you it gets better. In this post I share some tips to get started. You have to remember to take care of yourself and your priorities first, everyone else s secondary.
Find Your Voice
When people are discussing their opinions about a topic I sometimes I don’t really check in with myself to see what my opinion is about the situation. Or I’ll just agree with what someone say.
Sometimes I have an opposing opinions and will voice it only for the other person to tell me what they think and why I should think like them.
Then I’ll change my mind ad switch boats.
Now I’m not saying that its bad to be open to hearing and listening to the opinions of others but you really have to take ownership of how you feel and what you value.
Its ok to reflect and really consider what the other person is saying but you can’t abandon your beliefs and how you really.
We sometimes agree to feel to either fit in or not get in an argument. But everyone can’t agree on everything. That’s what the line” We’re going to have to agree to disagree” was made for.
So in these moments when you’re tempted to go along with what everyone else is saying check in with yourself to see how you really feel and what you really think.
Voice your opinion.
Learn to stand up for yourself.
Find your values.
Practice being assertive and speaking your truth.
Try this out with people you trust, you will be surprised how freeing it feels to really own who you are and what you think.
In conclusion, so nice girls work on not being mean girls but being who you truly are and letting the real you shine.
We don’t have to hide behind the nice girl mask, we can show up and be the amazing people we already are.
I promise you you are more than a nice girl and you are worth more than how nice and agreeable you are to others. So this week I urge you to try one tip and see how it feels to start shedding the nice girl persona. Let me know how it goes.