Emotional Work

Day 670 and Vinegar

One of the nastiest tricks we play on women is teaching them to be nice. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar turns out to not even be true literally let alone as a metaphor. That explains why my fruit fly traps all contain apple cider vinegar. Attracting others is just as much about being firm, and even unkind, as it is about nice.

I got the “nice” beaten into me in the workforce in my twenties. I got lots of advice about being more nurturing. I was told you will only succeed if you are well liked. And I tried adapting myself to be more accommodating. I suppressed a lot of my natural personality, and not terribly well, in an attempt to conform to the strictures of being perceived as nice. Nobody bought it and it made me miserable.

I’ve spent the back half of my thirties learning to get it back. As it turns out being nice is mostly in the eye of the beholder and has little to do with if you are actually an asshole. I learned slowly that having firm boundaries is important in both life and business and if someone reads that as you being mean or unkind well that says more about them than you.

I’m doing more to take care of myself so that I can approach every situations with as much empathy as possible. That way if I have to tell a hard truth and be “mean” at least I can do it with as much emotional presence as possible. I don’t have to be liked or even cater to someone’s emotions. That was always a lie. Being too nice might just end up babying someone.

Now I take care of myself so that others can take care of themselves. There is no attracting with honey or vinegar. There is just taking care to be truthful about who you are and what you offer.