I consider myself as an out going person who is quite vocal, but one of my biggest pet hates about myself is that I am a people pleaser and often tailor myself to suit everyone else's needs, totally ignoring my own. I've touched this subject before when I wrote a post 'You Don't Have To Explain Yourself' but I feel a need to revisit the importance of standing up for yourself.
I'm very assertive in many areas of my life so it feels like my biggest downfall I haven't truly discovered my own voice yet. My kindness and my ability to stay still has been taken as a weakness and a vulnerability to others and they have uses it to their advantage. You could say that at the ripe old age of 50 years I should have had the wake up call already, yet I still stumble in this area. The backlash to my inverted kindness is that when I do decide to speak up I get shut down as the bad guy! I could point the blame to everyone else but if I am perfectly honest the fault lies in me.
The picture you paint is the picture everyone sees.
Gaining that well deserved self-respect, self-confidence and the sense of personal power has to come from within. I have to unlearn my old habits of pleasing. It is me who has to gain the confidence to stand up. It may not be easy and it will not happen overnight but the change has to happen.
One important part of self-regard is understanding that you have a voice and that you have a right to be heard especially when it involves the control over your own life. When you speak up and stand up for yourself you put a stamp out to the world saying that you are a significant person who’s ideas and words are worth of respect. Developing a strong sense of self-confidence is the first step.
The word assertiveness pops in to mind. The definition of assertiveness means someone who behaves confidently and is not frightened to say what they want or what they believe in. Doesn't sound so difficult, but yet, why is it so damn hard for most of us?
Why does being assertive sometimes seem as though you are swallowing an apple as a whole?
In order for me to gain my self worth I will have to experience staying out of my comfort zone. Just stepping in and out will not be enough. I will have to experience discomfort for a prolonged period of time and not escape my own situations. I will have to convince others of change. I will have to endure and be aware of not flipping back by pleasing others. I can see it will be a struggle and I will have some casualties along the way, as happens with all the change in life. An easy excuse not to change anything! Well all individuals around me may not approve this change but as long as I'm not infringing on their rights they should not have a say on my matters.
I made myself a little check list for gaining my voice:
- Commit to situations assertively rather than passively
- Aim for open and honest communication without fear of judgement
- Listen actively and hear the truth
- Agree to disagree
- Make a decision to positively assert myself
And most importantly avoid the guilt trips when agreements are not found
This is going to be one of my biggest challenges but I am adamant that I have to apply this to myself. I will not be able to free up emotional and physical space around me to breathe, to move to the direction I want and become the person I want to be unless I find my voice.
We all get to a point in our life when enough is enough. When the pain gets big enough we start to change. And the change can only start from within you. And in a true DrivenWoman manner - you are what you do, not what you say you do. It's time to put plans into action!
I will become a voice to be heard.