Becoming Cold-Hearted

When I was a kid, I loved jamming to songs like “Cold-Hearted Snake” by Paula Abdul. Music was therapy. It had a way of making me feel like I belonged in a world that tried to suffocate me with wanting to be accepted. I’ve always had a heart bigger than my body, and that’s been a major problem. I’ve been too nice for too long. Kindness goes a long way in this world, and it’s easy to see why many people become cold-hearted. You may be one of them. When we give so much of ourselves that we are being used and abused, it is difficult to keep from getting resentful. My friends have wanted me to “toughen up” for years, and now that I am, they love the change. They laugh and joke about how I used to be a pushover when I didn’t want to be considered a bitch in reality. Now I understand the difference. It was a long road and one that I constantly have to watch my descent into the dark side from becoming so dark that I never see the light.

I’ve always tried to help people. My dad was a Lutheran Minister, and I was proud to be a preacher’s kid or PK, as many of us are called. Christianity is something that I’ve seen on many different sides. I’ve seen “so-called Christians” who do nothing but judge and label. I’ve also seen people who no one in certain circles would have thought to be devoutly religious and had to eat a lot of crows when they realized they practiced their faith better than those who ostracized them. Perceptions are a strange thing. Many believe that we know and understand people when we couldn’t be more wrong in reality. Just because we have the same types of body parts does not mean we are alike or different. There are many facets of our lives similar to those we consider to be our neighbors. There are components of our lives that are different. The way we respond to others and handle stigmas speaks to our character. When we talk to each other, our voice’s tone can be seen as a strength or weakness.

So what do you do if you are too nice and need to toughen up? One of the most difficult things a person who is too nice has to deal with is recognizing they are too nice. Instinctively people who are too nice know this and want the world to be a better place. They may not like confrontation and try to avoid fights as much as possible. There could be several reasons for this. The main thing is to stop trying to please everyone else and learn that it is okay to set boundaries for yourself and others. Here are a few tips I’ve found that might help.

  1. Realize That You Do Have A Choice. We have a choice to be kind but firm. When you go out of your way to help others, very few people appreciate your efforts. They may say that they do, but actions speak much louder than words. When you say to the world that you welcome people to walk all over your chances, you will become a doormat. You can choose kindness without having others walk on you. Recognize your part in how society treats you and make the adjustments needed to gain and respect yourself and others.
  2. Set Your Priorities. Where do you see yourself in a year? Two years? Three years? Five years? If you are too nice, you won’t get the opportunities that others get. It’s not that you aren’t capable. It’s that you give off the perception of being too accomodating. You don’t have to trash everyone around you to get ahead. Still, you do have to show that you can control volatile situations, that you are not afraid to take a leadership role, and that you have the confidence in yourself and others for other people to recognize your status.
  3. Let Go Of People Who Take Advantage Of Your People Pleaser Tendencies. I could write a book on these people. There have been many in my life who claimed to be friends. When I was no longer able to help them, they conveniently dissipated from my life. They did me a favor, but at the time, it hurt. True friends will be there for you no matter what and will include you in their lives. They won’t try to hide information from you about big events and exclude you except when they want something from you. They will be upfront with you about issues that you need to be aware of and won’t try to drain you for every cent they can get out of you. True friends are rare and need to be cherished.
  4. Accept The Fact That You Will Feel Guilty Saying No. If you are the type of person who hates disappointing others, I can guarantee you that you will feel guilty saying no. It’s normal. But sometimes you have to take care of yourself before you can help anyone else. Saying no can be more helpful than saying yes to something that your heart won’t be in.
  5. Take Care Of Yourself. No one else is going to take care of you. You may have a partner who helps you with many things, but ultimately it’s up to you to take care of yourself. This can be challenging, but it’s necessary. We all are juggling this world in a new way. Every single person on this planet is dealing with COVID and the effects its had on our psyche. People are snapping more and more. Their tempers are short, as well as their fuses. It doesn’t take much for people to get angry. Remember, you don’t have to be so nice that people abuse your kindness. But you do have to treat others with respect. If you don’t treat others well, that can backfire on you in ways you never anticipated.

When you begin to see yourself in a new light, you will find that you don’t have to become cold-hearted. You do have to be willing to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. You also have to be willing to understand that if you try to buy friendships or make others’ lives easier, you may be shortchanging their success, and you will shortchange yourself. Become a fixer in people’s lives is not always a good thing. Sometimes you fix what you should never have to begin with. Take care of yourself. There are enough people in this world that the government wants us to take care of. But before we can truly help ourselves and anyone else, we have to recognize our faults, weaknesses, strengths, convictions, and courage. Time will reveal the rest. Have a great day everyone!

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