Long ago, I learned that one of the most important things we can do when faced with a difficult situation is to “Say what you mean and mean what you say, but don’t be mean when you say it.” Diane Albano’s The Art of Being Nice: Own Your Voice for Greater Power and Fulfillment takes that kind of advice and elaborates upon all the places where things might go wrong as we walk the fine line between being nice and standing up for ourselves.
And Diane knows what it means to be too nice and let people walk all over you. In The Art of Being Nice’s pages, she shares stories from her own life about how she learned to find her voice. She has also interviewed numerous women and men who shared their stories with her. I’ve written this book for women and men who can identify with life patterns of compromising their truth, their God-given talent and abilities, and minimizing the power of owning their voices for greater freedom and fulfillment.” If you’ve ever felt like being nice has often brought you misery, this is the book you need to turn things around. You won’t become a meanie when you finish it, but you’ll learn how to say no and how to set boundaries in ways that make you happier and the other person, if not happier, wiser and knowing not to cross a line with you.
The book is divided into twenty chapters that will help you develop your art until you become a master at it. Topics include: Feeling Heard and Nurtured, Speaking Your Truth, Forgiving Yourself for Choices Made, Staying in Relationships Too Long, Taking Care of Yourself First, and Being Courageous and Free.
Throughout, aha moments will arise for readers. One happened when Diane described one of her own aha moments. ll of a sudden, being nice was not as endearing a quality. I realized I would step up and take control to get things done when I felt others were failing to do their own jobs or be responsible. I would get annoyed and frustrated at the lack of others’ participation and take charge.” As a type-A personality, I’ve often found myself stuck in a situation where I felt I had to take charge. This book will help you realize your other options and show you ways to handle such situations with tact and grace so the burden doesn’t completely fall on you, and perhaps to realize you are overreacting and don’t need to take charge at all.
Diane also talks a lot about learning to listen to our intuition. She’s worked a lot with Mary Morrissey through the Life Mastery Institute. Mary says our intuition, the small voice within, is one of the six laws of the Universe. It’s our inner guidance system that we often ignore. How often have we been in situations, like the one above, where we heard that voice telling us not to do something-not to get involved in a situation that will make us miserable-only to ignore it because we felt we had to be nice? Often, we can avoid these difficult situations if we are just preemptive by listening to our intuition first. Diane will teach you how to nurture that awareness of your intuition.
Another one of my big aha moments in reading this book came when Diane asked, “Are you responsible for training people not to help you?” I admit I’ve been guilty of that. I equated being nice sometimes with not being a bother. And at the same time, I wanted people to think I was strong, not weak, so I wouldn’t always ask for help. Not asking for help is one of those things I’ve learned to let go of because it no longer serves me. Diane devotes a whole chapter to letting go of what doesn’t serve us, and another whole chapter to asking for help. Trust me; just tackling these two lessons will make your life so much easier.
The book’s chapters end with questions for reflection to help you work out your own issues with being nice and also strategies to work on so you can improve at taking care of yourself, setting boundaries, and pursuing what will make you happier.
Ultimately, readers of The Art of Being Nice, will come away with insight and tools to support them so they will have greater clarity, purpose, freedom, confidence, and courage. As Diane says, “Everyone deserves to be heard, to be respected, and to know they are more than enough.” And as Marianne Williamson is quoted in the book as saying, “And no one will listen to us until we listen to ourselves.” People who have greater freedom and happiness have learned to listen to themselves without judgment of themselves or others. When we listen to ourselves and are clear on who we are and what we want, we can make the best decisions for ourselves in a way that allows us to continue to be nice without being a doormat.