Boundaries for Nice Guys
Are you a Nice Guy?
Do you strive to be agreeable, accommodating, prioritise other people’s needs and ignore your own for a quiet life or to avoid confrontation?
Being Nice may not be getting you all that you want
James kept getting screwed over. He would go along with other people’s plans to make things easy and have a quiet life. Then get frustrated that things would not work out the way he wanted them to. Friends would suggest meeting for a Chinese meal. Even though James would prefer an Indian, he’d say nothing and feel resentful about spending money on food he’d rather not eat. His partner wanted to get married. James was unsure and decided not to bring it up so that it did not lead to difficult conversations. James used to spend weekends walking in the nearby mountains but gave it up when he met his partner because she liked spas and meeting up in town to meet friends with him. Everyone thought what a nice guy James was. Inside, James was frustrated, resentful and angry and felt he could say nothing because it would sound so unreasonable to say “no” to some of these things from time to time and take a stand for what he wanted.
Like James, you may notice that what also comes with being a Nice Guy are the fears of:
- not being taken seriously
- seeming unreasonable or unkind
- being selfish or arrogant
- not being liked or loved
- lack of acceptance
- speaking up at home, at work and in your relationships.
Being Nice might mean saying “yes” more than you really want to so that you feel liked, loved and accepted. All too often, the result is that you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated and resentful.
Boundaries from an embodied approach
If you are a Nice Guy, you might know that it would help you to say “no” and to have stronger boundaries. But often, knowing that intellectually is not enough to change your patterns of behaviour and take a real stand for your sovereignty, inner trust and self-respect.
When James started to apply boundaries in his friendships, relationship with his partner and his own life, he began saying “no” to things he didn’t want to do from time to time. He began taking a stand for what he wanted occasionally. And very quickly the overwhelm, fatigue, frustration and resentment gave way to joy, optimism, fulfilment and purpose.
What served James was to go a little deeper that simply thinking about being more confident. Instead, he worked with a felt sense of taking up space and being stable and solid in his body, so that he could find his stand and his authentic “no”. When he practised these enough, he discovered that he felt greater confidence, a deeper sense of trust in himself and to comfortably stand for what was important to him.
Knowing it in your bones
Does some or all of James’ story resonate with you? If so, you may recognise the somewhat glib solutions of saying “be more confident” and “have better boundaries”. All meant kindly and well-meaning. But when you do not know HOW to do these things, you feel pretty foolish asking the question. These were expressions James heard all the time.
They were certainly things I was told as a younger man. The only way I knew how to get on in the world was to be nice. Do what people told me or asked of me. Put my desires behind the desires of others. Not cause conflict, confrontation or piss people off. I didn’t know how to be any different and I needed to learn how.
To develop the feeling of a strong and confident “No”, we practise the feeling of solidity and strength of a wide and stable stance, a straight and relaxed back, a strong focus and a hand in front of your heart showing where your boundary is. Practising this over a few weeks engrains the feeling in the body so that it can be recruited in real situations with ease when you want to say “No”.
The same is true for “being a stand”. Learn to know what it feels like to be solid, calm, focused and at ease. Practise it to embed the feelings and sensations of what it means to be a stand for something important. Then you can reproduce the feeling at will.
If you are a Nice Guy who struggles with boundaries and saying “no”, we are offering a course that may be for you. Three weeks to learn, practice and access the power of saying “No” and being a stand so that you can set, maintain and uphold your boundaries in many of your life’s situations and relationships. You can find the details of this course below:
It might just give you the tools to learn how to be confident so that you can enjoy better relationships, contribute more fully at work and be more present in your life.