It is 7:45 pm & I am intently watching the clock. Not that subtle, polite glance that we all do. I am staring at the clock glaringly. At this point, I am not even blinking, just flat-out staring. I am waiting for this meeting about selling coffee to be over.
“How did I even get here?!?” I don’t even drink coffee…why am I at this “investors” meeting to sell it? Sadly, I was being “too nice” to a co-worker & now I am trapped. I have fallen victim to a phenomenon that I’ll call, “over-caring.”
“Over-Caring” is simple to understand, but a little harder to stop. Here are some examples: a friend invites you to a kid’s party, you don’t have kids or have the desire to be around kids but you say yes “to be nice.” Boom… over-caring. Your neighbor had a routine argument with their spouse, you honestly don’t care about the whole situation, but you listen to their story for the 100th time anyway “to be nice.” Boom…over-caring!
In a nutshell, over-caring is when you allow your need “to be nice” to outweigh your choice to be happy. Sometimes, this may seem like it is not a big deal and it’s a great trait to have. Shouldn’t we all be nice? But being too nice in the long run can be a big deterrence to your mental health and prevents you from creating healthy boundaries. How many of us are guilty of this? It’s okay to raise your hand. I’m still a work in progress, but here are two small steps that I have taken to reduce my too nice urges. I highly encourage you to give these a try:
Just Say No!
Before you skip over this step, really think about your “no” game. Do you find yourself always adding an explanation about why you are saying no? Most of us do. So here is my challenge to you. JUST SAY NO!
Co-worker: “Hey Joy, I sell coffee. I’m making sooo much money! Want to join an investor’s meeting?”
Just no. How awkward was that? I bet you just cringed when you read that? Most people do. But, please note, I am not being rude to my co-worker here, I am being honest. Do I want to join her meeting? Nope! Not at all! And now, I won’t have to! As easy as it sounds, most of us are conditioned to explain our “no.” Allowing someone to rebut and eventually talk you into changing your answer. Please step your “no” game up and stop this! Just say no!
Ask yourself, “Is this MY problem”
Now this one is tough. Listen to me, you’re not a jerk. You are simply someone who is choosing to prioritize their mental health! Think about this, we are often caught up in “Super Save ‘Em” mode. We take on the world’s problems (and stress) and go above & beyond for solutions that don’t have anything to do with us! Now, I am not saying only do things for yourself, but what I am saying is to stop and ask yourself, “why do I care?” If you cannot come up with a reasonable answer besides it appearing you’re a nice person, please refer to #1 and “Just Say No.”
There are lots of small victories as you begin down the path to reducing your “over-caring.” There will be setbacks as well. Forgive yourself for the setbacks and really focus on the wins! Use that extra time and energy to pour into something that you do care about! The awkward moments will be so worth the added attention to your mental well-being! You will inevitably stress a little less and shift that care to things that also matter to you! You can thank me later!
Joy St Clair is a proud board member of the Black Professionals Summit and an avid supporter of black-owned businesses. She is a branch manager for a black-owned Tax & Financial Services Company, St Clair Financial Services. On her free time, she enjoys growing her own food and spending time with her husband/business partner, Enoch.