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Do Not Mistake My Niceness For Weakness

I am who I am
Alison O'Brien
Written by Alison O'Brien

Do not mistake my niceness for weakness or stupidity. I may be polite, but I am no pushover. And I have zero patience for anyone who takes advantage of my trusting nature.

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My name is Alison and I am a nice person.  Guilty as charged.


I Am Who I Am

I Am Who I Am

I play by the rules, consider other people’s feelings and always give credit where credit is due.  I say “please” and “thank you”, hold doors open for others and return shopping carts to their parking lot cages.  I give of my time, my effort and myself, and try my best to be thoughtful to all throughout life.  I like things to be fair and work hard to make things so.

However… do not mistake my niceness for weakness or stupidity.  I may be polite, but I am no pushover.  And I have zero patience for anyone who takes advantage of my trusting nature.

A goodly part of the world follows the golden rule – doing unto others as they would have done to them.  They return kindness with kindness, a smile with a smile, and do not lie, cheat or steal.  But, a growing number of people do not and that really irks me.  As my best friend too often has to tell me, “If you keep expecting others to treat you like you treat them, you’ll continue to be disappointed.”

Luckily, Kara is one of the great ones and, in 30 years of friendship, has yet to disappoint, but she is right.  Yet, that knowledge does not stop me from my constant crusade to make people be ‘fair’.

This is on my mind more than usual due to a recent nearly ten-month long battle with a company that has since been proven to conduct its business in a fraudulent manner.  The only ‘work’ this purported professional public relations company did was to immediately charge my credit card and then consistently refuse a refund.  The rest of the time, they avoided my constant status inquiries and only responded when threatened with credit card disputes and, later, legal action.

From early on – just hours after I signed on to work with this company – I had a feeling things would not work out as they had said and I had hoped.  So, I went down every route I could to correct the issue – filing disputes with my credit card company and the Better Business Bureau.  My goal was to receive what I thought was fair – either a full refund or the promised work outlined in the contract.  And every time I reached a dead end – and I hit many – I would take a deep breath, grit my teeth and start again.

When I would get the manager on the telephone, which was a chore in itself, he would make grandiose promises for unfulfillable items, such as my company being featured on 22 foot billboard in Times Square with 5,000 media outlets chomping at the bit to read any press release his company wrote.  He would try to buy my silence and acceptance with things he would later deny ever saying or writing in multiple emails.  I was constantly told that I “misheard”, “misread” or “misconstrued” what he had said, written or implied.  When I would push back, he would raise questions as to my professionalism which, in conjunction, raised my blood pressure and voice volume.

My right-hand-man in life, Chris, took up the cause, calling this company multiple times weekly, if not daily.  I am grateful that he shielded me from the verbal berating the manager had made his mission, but no one could stop me from feeling both brainless and beaten-up.  I knew I was taken advantage of and I refused to accept that fate.

In the end, after nearly ten-months of the cycle of asking-angering-angling (lather, rinse, repeat), we found a new avenue through which to get information.  I began calling this company’s purported partners and asking what was what.  Apparently, this turn hit a nerve and the once-indignant manager ran scared.  I received an email saying they would issue a full refund and wished me luck in my future endeavors.

To-date, I am still awaiting that refund, but should that too be a promise unfulfilled, I will fight until what has said will be done IS done.  I continue to fight for fairness because it is who I am and how I would like to be treated.  Don’t mistake my smile for lack of strength – it is just the opposite.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

I am working on accepting that no matter how much I want it to be different, not everyone in life plays by the ‘rules’.  Sadly, some people believe they are either exempt or entitled to do things that are not considered ‘fair’ by the world.  I don’t have to stoop to their level, but I have to accept that others may.

What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I appreciate my ‘bull-doggedness’ and my fighting spirit.  I CAN accept no for an answer, but I cannot accept not fighting for what’s right.  It is tiring to have to keep battling, but I know I sleep better with the knowledge I’ve done all I could.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

I am proud that I stand up for myself.  I spent too many years cowering in the corner and I’m happy that I learned that life happens in the light and that I now have the confidence to stand there!

We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?

I have a lot of patience and a relatively long ‘fuse’, but I can be snappy.  I wish I always took the time to take that deep, mind-settling breath before speaking, but I sometimes let my temper talk before I think.

“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!)

Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?

Desire for more!  I do not mean “more” in a material way, but in the ‘not satisfied with the status quo’.  That’s not a bad thing, right?

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About the author

Alison O'Brien

Alison O'Brien

How a Pair of Running Shorts Spurred on My Second Career.

As a veteran television producer and novice athlete, I decided to train for my first marathon in the hopes of finding and funding a cure for the cancer my friend was bravely battling. I spent the 26.2 miles finding fault with the ill-fitting, dysfunctional and certainly unflattering running shorts I was wearing. Seven years, thousands of miles, and even more running 'bottoms' bought, I decided that if I couldn't find fitness fashions I liked, I'd make them myself.
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/jwalkingdesigns
TWITTER: www.twitter.com/jwalkingdesigns

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