I have a friend who does a lot of things for a lot of other people. He sometimes has a hard time saying “no,” and he really works hard to try to be kind to others. But occasionally some of those for whom he does good works will ask him to do things that they can do themselves. Sometimes they will ask him to do some work at their house in the late afternoon or evening for a couple hours after he’s already worked a full day at his own job.
At times like this, he occasionally vents to me, and the phrase he uses is “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.” His point is that – just because I’m good to you and kind and courteous, doesn’t mean I’m a weak person.
I agree with that statement wholeheartedly! For those of us in customer service, we try to be kind to others. We try to be helpful to others. We are in the business of serving others, so we want to do what will help the customer or the co-worker. That being kind and considerate and courteous has nothing to do with weakness. Being selfless or caring or compassionate should not suggest to people that they can take advantage or walk over us.
It’s a personal and professional strength to be empathetic enough to understand others. It is a strength to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous complaints and unrealistic expectations and irrational actions of others, and to be able to handle it in a professional way that moves that conversation along, gets to a resolution, and creates some closure.
It takes a strong person to succeed in service.
So, don’t view your positive and selfless and kind qualities as a weakness, because if you view it as a weakness, you know that the other person will view it as a weakness. Realize that it’s your strength, and it’s not an excuse to allow others to take advantage of your good nature or your good deeds.
Don’t allow others to mistake your kindness for weakness. Believe in the strength that you have to be good and do good for others.