Jerome was complaining about his elusive
girlfriend: despite her inability to commit, he waited for her. And waited... So, what's
the problem? Is he a loser? Hardly!
This young man Has
It All: he is poised, successful, handsome, and has solid values. (Hey, Jerome - wanna
meet my pretty, sweet little cousin?) But he has one minor flaw: he is too nice!
Just a touch of codependence in a person who is otherwise self-assured and in charge.
This tendency is very common; the degree varies. "J" has it. So does Kristin,
though both are improving. "Owning your worth" is what I call the ability to
seamlessly and subtly assert your self worth in the myriad of second-to-second
interactions life presents us with daily. These seemingly unimportant interpersonal
exchanges are in fact BIG. They help shape other individuals' perceptions of who we are
and how we will be treated. When we own our worth, we are less likely to end up feeling
angry, frustrated, helpless, or used.
"Nice" people don't understand why they need to
protect their worth. They rarely intrude upon another's space, and don't understand people
who do. Yet they are drawn to people who make a fuss. They respect them and often tread
lightly around them.
Jerome experienced feelings of frustration and anger with
Jenny. He described the time she came to his place and "cooked," or, more
accurately, sprinkled his kitchen with grease, flour, and various other goodies. A
gentleman, Jerome let it go and picked up after her later. But similar incidents took
place repeatedly. One day he finally told her to clean up her act. Jenny was
incensed. "How DARE you talk to me like that!" To this day, she has not let him
forget his "over-reaction." (Which probably was an over-reaction since the
longer one waits to express anger, the bigger it grows.) Yet, she fails to recognize her
own over-reaction in grabbing her stuff and storming out.
Step on Jenny's toes and there is an immediate reaction:
Go No Further! Step on Jerome's toes and he "understands," until he
understands no more and lets you have it.
There is some truth to the old adage, "Nice guys finish
last." Look at the albeit extreme example of what happens to the selfless, loving
person who becomes involved with a not-so-selfless other (e.g., read about victims of verbal abuse).