That’s what I’m striving for – not feeling guilty whenever I have to say what it is that I need. Of course, this means it’s up to me to determine and own what that is, and then communicate clearly what works for me and what doesn’t. Sometimes the absolute right thing for me to say is “no”.
I’m not suggesting that I am a categorical “yes” woman. I’m unwilling to completely sacrifice myself at the alter of “the happiness and comfort of others”, but much of my life since having children and choosing to stay home to help kick-start their early lives has revolved around central twin themes of “caring for others” and “putting them first”. What started as a necessity when infants took up residence in my house, became something of a depleting habit over time as everyone, myself included, got cozily used to me in that role.
And since I tend toward being a “people pleaser” anyway, when situations arise that require me to say “that doesn’t work for me”, or when it becomes necessary for me to stand up and tell the unpopular truth and then let the chips fall where they may, it can be hard for me. Seriously, who wants to be a buzz-kill? Not I.
I don’t like to disappoint people or hurt their feelings. I find it tougher to say what I need when it means someone else has to give up something for me to have my way, though my level of angst over that is generally proportional to the importance of who that someone is in my life. Recently I’ve encountered several situations that screamed for me to stand up and claim what I need. Not doing so was causing more problems than just getting it over with already.
So I spoke up, and not surprisingly all turned out just fine. Here’s the thing, when I’m true to myself, whether what I have to say is popular or not, I end up feeling at peace with it all. In the wake of it, I find that most people respond to me with increased respect. At the least, I respect myself more for having spoken up, and really, if my increased self-respect is all that comes of it, it’s worth it. I find that when I’m diplomatically honest but unapologetic, I’m happiest and others know just where they stand with me. I’m also finding that it gets easier with practice.