For a lot of us self assertion is of great difficulty. We worry about others feeling, putting our own aside, even to our detriment. For some of us it’s because we crave acceptance and what better way to be accepted than to allow the other person to have everything they want?! Being an only child, I learned very quickly that this tactic was a great way to not HAVE to be alone. There’s a problem though with always putting others first; it breeds resentment.
Relationships are or should be a fine balance of give and take. Of mutual acceptance and consideration for one another. When they function like this, both parties get what they want and need to some degree. When the relationship isn’t mutual and is one sided, one person ultimately is left wanting. And the frustration and pressure of not being considered, festers in the form of anger issues, self confidence issues and lack of true connection.
It may not even be that the other party realizes that this is happening. As the “doormat” of the relationship we are less likely to bring our lack of contentment and dissatisfaction to the other’s attention. One my call it ignorant bliss on their part. Well there’s no complaint so it must be ok. And as the doormat we think we are being kind and caring, by not asserting our needs. We are essentially being martyrs to an unnecessary cause. Because the truth is, it doesn’t do anyone any favours.
When we aren’t true to ourselves we don’t give others the chance to see how great we are and truly know if they like us or not. We are false advertising. Our not taking satisfaction in being heard, considered and valued, doesn’t give anyone more happiness or a better life. In fact they probably don’t even notice the “kindness” you think you’ve bestowed. You are the only one being affected by this action. It’s only when we burst out in frustration or anger (often at the wrong person) that anyone even knows we have a voice. And then it’s not only shoking but misinterpreted. And when you do assert yourself after having not spoken up, don’t be surprised if people walk away. They may feel they don’t know you. Or feel uncomfortable with having to take on the new role of considering your feelings. Whatever they feel or do, it is for them to own, not you.
See when you are true to yourself, you can own your behaviour, your choices, you feelings. You don’t have to worry about what other’s think of you because you are secure with you. That’s not say you can’t be wrong or that there may not be ways to improve yourself. But if you are true to you then you can also recognize these things too.
Being a “martyr” has not served me well. Putting myself last has only put me in places that were filled with negativity. I can still be a good friend, and person while considering my own feelings first. Of course I still care about how others feel. And I never want to hurt anyone. But I won’t put myself in a place of disappointment, dissatisfaction,inconvenience or hurt because I don’t want someone else to feel “bad”. Chances are that person is asking something out of line to make me feel that way.
I hope that I can show my kids that their feeling are important, by taking a stand in my true self. I wouldn’t want them to place less worth on themselves because I was misguided enough to do so.
So the next time you start to accommodate someone in a way that puts you at a disadvantage , stop and think about your motivation. Are you doing this for acceptance, or just so they don’t have to feel bad? Or is there a genuine reason that involves that mutual kind of relationship? Remember you have just as much worth as they do, or anyone else for that matter, and you deserve a happy outcome too!