Podcast Ep. 271: We’ve Got to Stop Harming Ourselves with Insane Politeness and Toxic Professionalism

Young couple having romantic evening at home woman reading book

How often do you go to say or do something but then hold back out of fear of being impolite or unprofessional? How often do you find yourself playing nice and trying to avoid confrontation for as long as possible before you finally assert yourself? In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I explain insane politeness and toxic professionalism. 

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5 key topics in this episode

While in some instances, we’re being polite and professional in that we’re respectful and considerate of others and respect, for instance, work boundaries that allow us to uphold healthy workplace values and attitudes, this often isn’t what we’re doing. Instead, our idea of being ‘polite’ and ‘professional’ is shorthand for silencing needs, desires, expectations, feelings and opinions. They’re shorthand for being compliant even when it’s harmful and for avoiding anything we don’t want to deal with.

Social masks separate a person from their personhood. We struggle to decipher our boundaries and what’s occurring in a situation because we’re too busy trying to uphold an image of politeness and professionalism.

We already have a tendency to make authorities out of others and fear getting into trouble. We’ve grown up in the Age of Obedience that taught us to be compliant and make people into authorities. So in a situation where we need to question something or we know it’s wrong, we won’t. We’ll fear, for instance, looking like we’re going over their head or lacking work ethic. 

We have to stop calling repeated, habitual, chronic denial and neglect of the self ‘politeness’ and ‘professionalism’. They’re not. Recognising and saying no to insane politeness and toxic professionalism is about having healthier boundaries. It’s about recognising where we’re operating on old programming instead of honest, assertive preference.

Spot our insane politeness and toxic professionalism

Silencing ourselves 

Delaying expression. It’s almost like it has to be acute or urgent.

Rules and ‘shoulds’, including doing things from a place of obligation even when you don’t need to


Being very uncomfortable with something but sticking it out

Sucking it up

Afraid to have boundaries or be assertive for fear of looking rude, difficult, mean, too sensitive, etc

Being obedient and compliant despite whatever problems it causes for you

Hiding who you are to fit conventions

Fear of inconveniencing others

Fear of hurting feelings 

Dropping hints

Maxing out. E.g. burnout, tipped over the edge, losing your temper 

And, of course, people pleasing, perfectionism, overgiving, overthinking and over-responsibility 

Links mentioned + recommended resources

The Joy of Saying No is released on January 10th, 2023 in hardback, audio and ebook. Bookshop.org (US)

Are you being nice, or are you disguising anger and control? (ep 195)

The Self-Sabotage of Over-giving, Over-responsibility, People Pleasing, Perfectionism and Overthinking (ep 194)

The Emotional Baggage Sessions 

Yes isn’t a clean word if it’s not authentic  (ep 199)

Talking About Our Feelings (ep 154 and 155)

We’re Allowed To Have Work Boundaries (ep 220)

You Are Allowed To Rest (ep 219)

Let’s Stop Minimising Those Big Little Things (ep 236)

Don’t forget to connect with me on social: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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The post Podcast Ep. 271: We’ve Got to Stop Harming Ourselves with Insane Politeness and Toxic Professionalism appeared first on Baggage Reclaim with Natalie Lue.

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