Many people live great portions of their lives according to ideas of real or imagined duty.
Real duty is extremely important in my view. No man is an island and at times we all have to do things that may not be our first choice in order to meet external (or internal) expectations or needs. Fulfilling your duties can bring great happiness and satisfaction to all concerned, if not in the moment then very often in hindsight.
Imagined duty is different. It can be a dangerous and frustrating waste of time that causes unhappiness or even damage to the dutiful person and to the recipient of the imagined duty.
One way to combat misplaced duty is to never assume anything. As they say, assume makes an ass of u and me.
Do not assume that someone wants you to do something. Do not assume that someone is saying one thing but really means another.
In the end everyone is responsible for their own self-awareness and at least trying to communicating effectively.
It´s a fine line. Do be generous and kind. Don’t become frustrated or beholden.
If it doesn’t seem to be appreciated and you don’t want to do it, is it really worth continuing?
It could be an old habit that just doesn’t work anymore. It might turn out that it is very much appreciated and worth every moment you spend. Or maybe something else would be a better fit for everyone.
Stop being nice
At a certain point you may have to stop being what you think of as ‘nice’. It’s nice to do this or be like that. But sometimes it isn’t really beneficial to be ‘nice’ all the time for seemingly no benefit to anyone. Sometimes it’s much better to be not ´nice´ in order to be properly and actually nice.
It’s the difference between acting nice, which is just pretending and possibly even lying, and being a fulfilled and healthy human that is kind and helpful and attentive by choice or simply as a natural result of going about their daily life.
It’s complicated, I know.
If you stop doing something what happens? If you ask if you can stop what is the reaction? What if you take what someone says at face value and act on it? If you stop being ‘nice’ and start doing what you want or what you think needs to be done, what is the outcome?
You have to decide what is real and important and what is just habit or laziness or fear of saying no (or fear of saying yes!) How much are you just going along with things?
Don’t be nice
Consider your actions, ask, decide, and if you go on, really engage. Then you and everyone else will probably benefit more from it in the moment and you can appreciate it all the more when you look back.
That is really nice.
Co-founder, The Clean Sheet