Being tough is not the same thing as being mean. In fact, the people who are most likely to think your toughness is mean are often exactly the people with whom you most need to be tough.
When people you count on aren’t making themselves available, it’s time to get tough. When people around you are being manipulative or otherwise undermining of you, it’s time to get tough. When a task you’ve set out to conquer proves more difficult than you first imagined, get tough.
Being tough can help keep you from being mean
A fair percentage of the times you get mean it’s the result of not being tough enough. You let things slide, you fail to stand up for yourself or to let people know they’re out of line–in short, you give people permission to treat you poorly. And at some point, you’re NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO TAKE IT ANY MORE! Most of the time, this revelation isn’t a quiet one, and is followed by some sort of blow up. Mean.
You might say that not being tough is actually kind of mean
Stay with me on this one: Every time you ignore mistreatment, or you decide to let it go when someone steps out of line with you, you’re letting them know it’s fine to treat you that way. Allowing someone to mistreat you is not very nice. Most people value treating others well. And sometimes people need feedback from you on how they’re doing. If you’re not happy and withhold valuable feedback (i.e. failing to tell them they’re hurting you) then you’re not giving them information they need in order to alter what they’re doing and treat you well.
What do you struggle with when it comes to being tough?