CookieJar.jpgYears ago I had a boyfriend who seemed to go from one extreme to another in everything. I asked him about it and he laughed when he said, “I don’t do middles well.” Living in extremes is what obsessive compulsive people do. It’s also reflected in DoorMats when they get fed up with the treatment they get.

Leaving DoorMatville does NOT mean going to the other extreme–becoming tough, saying no to everyone, being unkind, acting aggressive, etc.

I equate it with an Oreo. Maybe that’s why it’s my favorite cookie! One of the chocolate cookies is being a DoorMat. On its other side, the chocolate cookie is tough, aggressive and unforgiving behavior. Then there’s the creme in between the 2 cookies. For me, that’s a Nice Person on Top! The middle ground; the sweetest part in between the other two. That’s where I recommend you all be.

Negative emotions–anger, frustration, disappointment, feeling taken for granted, etc.–can flip the cookie from being a Doormat to you seeking a way to fight back in a tough way.

Don’t succumb! People come to my workshops and complain that they don’t want to be nice anymore because people take advantage of them. They believe the “Nice guys finish last” theory. I felt the same way when I was a DoorMat. Nice got me nowhere I thought. Why bother? When we see the people who are tough and assertive and not nice getting more, being on the other side of the Oreo can seem a tasty spot to be in. But it’s actually distasteful.

The unyielding boss gets the job done but is hated. The demanding romantic partner isn’t a loving person. The unhelpful friend ends up alone.

When I got fed up with being a DoorMat, I jumped to the other side and got tough and aggressive. I thought that being on the other side of the cookie would be more satisfying, but it wasn’t. Yes, I did get people’s attention more, got taken more seriously and did a lot less for others so I had more time for me. But people didn’t like me. Worse, I didn’t like me! It wasn’t the person I wanted to be! Being the flip side of the cookie was exhilarating for about a week. Then I realized I wouldn’t like me if I were my friend!

It took a while to understand that there was a sweet middle–the cream of healthy behavior–being nicely on top of my life.

I evolved into what I call a Nice Girl on Top. It’s the core of the lessons in my book, Nice Girls Can Finish First. I wrote the book for women because the publisher said women buy the books. Plus, issues are different for men and women. I do plan to write Nice Guys Can Finish First in the future. I feel strongly about giving people tools for being on top of their lives while being the creme of the Oreo. Negative emotions don’t motivate healthy behavior. Finding your NICE middle ground works better.

BIG lesson: Nice does NOT mean DoorMat or people pleaser.

A DoorMat takes care of everyone else’s needs ahead of his or her own, to gain approval. A Nice Person on Top takes care of him/herself, sets boundaries, and selectively does favors–to help people, not to buy acceptance. Pay attention to your behavior. You don’t have to yell to get taken seriously or not help anyone to prove you’re important. You just have to know that you deserve to get what you want, and to stand up to people who don’t treat you well.

Talk softly and carry a big stick–an attitude that shows you mean business, no matter how softly you speak.

In The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep’s character spoke as softly as possible yet people were terrified of her. Her presence told people not to mess with her. You can do that too, but smile and have a kind intention. Then they’ll listen carefully but also like you. A Nice Person on Top Earns respect while being liked too!

I broke up with my boyfriend who couldn’t do middles. Everything was to the extreme and it drove me crazy. Going from one extreme to the other puts you on an emotional seesaw that creates unhealthy feelings. Find a nice middle ground. Be the sweet crème in the Oreo so you can relax, respect and like yourself and be a Nice Girl or Guy on Top. Leave the drama to the people who choose to be the chocolate cookies on the outside.

Please leave comments under my posts so we can stay connected. 

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