How do people react when you stand up for yourself or ask for what you want/need? I’ve been working on this a lot these past few months, and even more since my meditation retreat (see my video Why Meditation Causes Natural Healing). I’ve come to realize how much I freeze up when it comes to asking for what I want or need, and yet how eagerly I help everyone else do so. In fact, I have a new agreement with myself that I can only help others fulfill their needs and desires when I am fulfilling my own. I can only help others love themselves more when I am loving myself. It’s like the old adage that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, only with a positive, self-love spin. If I don’t honor and respect myself, how can I honor and respect anyone else?
Speaking up for ourselves is so important, but that doesn’t make it easy. In fact, the only thing harder than speaking up for ourselves is not speaking up! When we do not speak up for ourselves, often it’s because we feel the relationship is more important than our issue. How silly! If we don’t speak up, what happens? Resentment builds, frustration builds, and then one day when we finally do speak up, we are fed up and really do damage the relationship. Isn’t it better to speak up right away in a calm, loving way? Our truth is our truth, and it isn’t likely to change. Anything based on less than our truth is merely an illusion, not a deep, loving, mutual relationship.
So then, how do speak our truth and do the least damage possible if we know they may not like what we’re going to say? Saying things as gently yet firmly as possible, coming from a place of love is a great start. It often helps to consider how it would feel if the person were going to say the same thing to us. How would we want to hear it? Saying things like “I feel…I need…I want…I love…” are indisputable truths about you, rather than critical statements about the other person that usually begin with, “You always…you never…why don’t you…”. This compassion helps as much as anything can, as does understanding that it’s not personal! No matter how much it may feel personal, their response is about them and where they’re at in life and growth. (See The Four Agreements for more on this).
Once we’ve had our difficult conversation, silence often follows. I’ve recently been reminded of how that silence can grow into misunderstanding. I understood it as withdrawal from my life, and it was actually an attempt to give me the quiet and space the other person thought I wanted. Lesson? Gently break the silence and observe what follows objectively. We may be quite surprised at what follows, but we won’t know if we don’t take a risk and go there. We both felt silly for our misunderstanding and peace is now restored.
The final piece is usually the hardest….patience! We have no control over how another person feels after we speak our truth. They deserve the same time to process what has been said and feel their way through it that we had in developing our approach and timing initially. They may want/need hours, days, or even weeks. Eventually, one of two things will happen. Either they will get past their hurt, resolve any anger, feel your love and return to an even stronger relationship based on reality and truth, or they won’t. The deepest and most genuine relationships heal stronger than they were; less authentic relationships not intended for our path any longer show themselves as longer true for us and move out of our lives.
Often as we grow deeper in self-love and rediscover/use our voices, those in our lives who are used to (often unconsciously) molding us to their will become uncomfortable with these changes. They need time to get used to the shift and then ultimately decide if they wish to share a more mutually respectful love with us or move on to someone more easily manipulated to their desires. This is painful to recognize, I won’t lie, but these are the changes we must allow to unfold, standing in the comfort of endless Divine Love and our own self-love to comfort us through the transition. Thankfully, beautiful new relationships also appear in our lives that reinforce the amazing feeling of giving and receiving healthy, respectful love. When we allow this new joy as well as any pain that may surface to unfold, we transform our relationships within and without, finally embracing authentic connection and joy. This is a gift we can only give to ourselves; if not now, when?
Have you had an experience like this? Maybe you’ve tried this but met with challenges? Please share your comments, experiences, and ideas with us as we Journey together in this amazing experience of life. Sending you Divine Love and Light!
Journey of Possibilities Founder & Chief Inspirational Officer
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