Do we say yes when we mean yes, and no when we mean no? Do we habitually place other people’s needs before our own? Do you count?
This is often the way we give away our personal power.This can be ingrained in us from our youth, depending on the motivational techniques used by our parents. Or perhaps our parents were absent, worked a lot, or for other reasons were not there to support us. This can make us look to others for the affirmation, rather than draw from our own self-esteem.
This may be a habit we do not even know we have until we feel used by people. Are we the one everyone else always comes to when extra chores need to be done at the clubs we belong to, at work or with friends?
It is one thing to offer our help from time to time. Doing service for the greater good of humanity is good for the soul. For a short time, if our work needs our extra attention on a project, or our friend needs help, we may choose to volunteer. The key words here are “for a short time.”
But how many friendships have been lost because one person is always the giver, and the other person is always the taker?
This may happen without our being fully conscious of it. When an unfair situation does occur to us, how do we handle it?
It is wonderful the moment these situations present themselves to our consciousness, because up until that point, we can go years without realizing others are taking unfair advantage of us by our own lack of standing up for ourselves. Once we recognize this, we have a choice, and our head gets more in the game. Depending on our conditioning, or our misguided need to be needed, we may choose to continue giving our personal power away and volunteer our life away, in the hopes that our efforts will gain us status, recognition, friendship, or to be better liked.
Again, the key phrase is, “for a short time.” For a short time, we can burn the candle at both ends, carry an extra heavy work load, help somone through a health crisis. The trouble begins when we do not stand up for ourselves, when the short time turns into what is expected of us over the long haul.
It is interesting to watch ourselves when we begin to find our voice. Often what happen is, we get fed up. We’ve had enough. We get angry with the situation, or the other person because we feel they are abusing us; when in reality, we have allowed this to happen to us.
We are not a victim unless we choose to be. No one wants to hear that, especially if we feel we have been wronged. We are not in charge of other people’s actions, but we are in charge of ours.
So what tends to happen next, is that we can over-react. We angrily lash out that we need to stop being friends, or we quit the club, or set clear boundaries with others. It is enough to simply stop, to simply say no to extra activities, even with a smile.
When did we have to explain our every thought, word or deed to everyone? We can say “no” lovingly, state our mind with integrity, drop the fear and the anger.
But this is a learning process. Some of us have this down pat. Others of us, no matter what age we are, are still learning how to stand up for ourselves. This is especially true is we are in the midst of changing addictive patterns in our life. We need to give ourselves time to change whatever habits we want to. We can do anything we set our minds to.