Nice Doesn't Mean Reducing Your Worth

07/08/2011 05:34 pm ET | Updated Sep 07, 2011

Stores have markdown sales in order to move inventory or get rid of products that aren't selling. It's good business sense to do it at appropriate times. But the practice is self-defeating if you reduce your own value. Whether it's for business or pleasure, being a people-pleasing version of nice can make you feel less worthy of receiving compensation or good treatment and to give yourself away.

Many of us were taught that people like us more when we're modest and do favors. So being self-effacing and giving without boundaries becomes a habit for many people who consider themselves nice. We devalue ourselves in many situations, don't find it satisfying, but continue to be "nice" and take less than we're worth to please others. Hello! How can you attract happy situations if you sell your value short? When I was a DoorMat, I had a dirt-cheap exchange rate:

* I put off asking for more money when I had a job because I thought my boss might get angry.
* I did work that only people in much higher positions did--and did it well--but kept quiet after I mentioned I should be paid more and got ignored.
* I did all sorts of nice things for each guy I was involved with, despite only getting crumbs of sweetness alternating with disrespectful behavior.
* I wrote and spoke for free because I didn't value my gifts enough to give it monetary value.
* I did favors whenever asked, even though there was rarely help when I needed it.

"Nice people" are walked on and give themselves away as a lifestyle, taking crumbs instead of expecting to get the whole enchilada. That makes you settle for less. When you have even a little self-doubt or a lack of confidence, it's easier to hesitate to give yourself value or not recognize it in the first place. But that's NOT nice! If you don't value YOU, why should anyone else?

When you focus on your value, you're less likely to let people take advantage of you or your skills. Get into the habit of viewing yourself as a valuable nice person by paying attention to how you handle yourself in situations where people take advantage of you. A true nice person is just as nice to him/herself, if not more, as she or he is to others. That means valuing your time and what you do well.

People get their cues from you. If you keep accept lowball offers, you'll keep getting them! If you walk into a room slumped, not making eye contact, and speak without conviction, you've lost respect at the gate. Looking insecure allows people assume they can take advantage of you. Acting like you have no value attracts buzzards, who see you as road kill to nibble on. When you act like you're a somebody--SURPISE! People treat you like a somebody.

If you want to be a happy and whole nice person, accept that giving yourself away is NOT nice and build up your value in your own head. Self-value begins in your head. Even if you don't feel super good about yourself, you can begin to do things to build yourself up.

* Write a statement about who you are and why you deserve to be paid for your worth. List all your good qualities and ask friends for suggestions if you need more. Read it a lot to bolster your confidence.

* Practice walking with good posture. It helps you feel better about yourself and makes a better impression.

* Become more conscious of how you devalue yourself. Nobody does that for you! It's YOUR choice! Do your best to break any habits of putting yourself down, even in jest, and stop using negative words for referring to you.

* Point at yourself in a mirror and say, "YOU'VE got great value!" Eventually it can become your reality!

No one has to believe your value at first but YOU. Once you accept it, confidence will show in how you carry yourself and your attitude. When I was a people pleaser I wasn't aware of how much I demeaned myself to show how nice I was. I looked and acted like a pathetic loser, thinking that made me nice.

Looking back, it's hard to believe the absurdity of thinking that if didn't own how terrific I am and belittled myself, people would like me more! Now I know I only want to be with those who like for the amazing (yes, this word isn't a typo!), NICE woman I am. Thirteen books later, I value my talents and will walk away from not getting what I'm worth. I love that I'm nice in a healthier way.

Slowly start to increase your value. Become more conscious of the good things you bring to others and how valuable it is. Then incorporate it into your demeanor and expect to get back what you're worth! When you truly expect it, you'll get a lot more goodies!

I believe that treating yourself with kindness is the greatest tool for healing old hurts that made you feel you didn't deserve much. The more you love yourself, the more you'll protect you. If this recovering DoorMat who thought she was too fat, ugly and useless to be worth much could become an extremely valuable person, you can too!