Agreeableness is one of five personality traits the psychiatric world uses to determine personality. Differences in those five traits, memorialized in the acronym OCEAN (Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism) combine to determine our personalities. Agreeableness describes a person’s ability to put others needs before their own.
HSPs (and empath-HSPs) are familiar with and generally rank high in the agreeableness sub-traits due to our enhanced empathy and conscientiousness. The scale runs from highly agreeable to antagonistic. Highly agreeable people tend to be respectful, cooperative, humble, kind, and selfless. Desirable attributes. And many that we as HSPs (and empaths) possess.
While agreeableness is advantageous, it can go too far. Being too agreeable can put you at a disadvantage, as you see in the following steps to help you limit your agreeableness to an appropriate amount.
One: Strengthen Your Confidence
Confidence-building exercises are the backbone for change. Due to a long-standing ignorance of our positive attributes, we have often been misunderstood, leading to an undermining of our worth. Be accepting of all your thoughts, emotions and sensitivities. Find that quiet acceptance of the wonder of who you are.
Two: Know and Set Appropriate Boundaries for You
HSPs and empaths notoriously have thin boundaries. Because of these porous boundaries, we can become vulnerable to exploitation. For more on this subject, see this post.
Three: Get Comfortable with Conflict
Conflict is hard for HSPs and empaths. We don’t like hurt other people’s feelings. Maintaining the status quo is most comfortable for us. But when we do that, we rob the world of our well-thought-out opinions. If we do step forward with an idea, and it is challenged, we are uncomfortable fighting for that opinion (no matter how strongly we believe in it). Our contribution, however, has worth, and when it is appropriate, we must face our fear of conflict, and persevere.
Four: Determine Who You Can and Can’t Trust
As peacemakers, we want to assume that everyone is honest and trustworthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we know that we are often the target of toxic people who want nothing more than to exploit our trustful nature. For more on this subject, see this post.
Five: Learn to Delegate
We take on a lot of responsibility – sometimes too much. We would rather do something ourselves than delegate it to another equally capable person. This can and does, in the long run, lead to burnout. Start slowly at first. It will feel uncomfortable until you have done it a few times. If it is a problem for you, think of it this way: You insult the capable people around you if you are not trusting them to do what they are fully able to do and do well.
Six: Put Your Wellbeing First
Being too agreeable puts a strain on us. You must learn to put your health and wellbeing into a priority position. Too much of anything is unwise. Too much agreeing nature drains us physically and emotionally. Promise yourself to take care to keep you at your most optimum self.
Seven: Make Appropriate Agreeableness a Priority
Do it now. The longer you put it off, the harder it becomes to make that change.
Agreeableness in a personality is a desirable trait. Most people appreciate cooperative, helpful, kind and considerate people. You don’t need to worry that you will stop being agreeable if you limit your agreeableness to appropriate levels. On the contrary, you are making the most of that wonderful trait for both yourself and the people around you.
Copyright 2023, Monica Nelson