Do Any of These Describe You?
- Can't say No.
- Can't stand up for yourself when some is mistreating or disrespecting you.
- Going against your values in order to please others.
- Taking on too much responsibility, draining your time and energy.
- Having difficulty communicating your wants and needs.
If you answered "yes" to most of these, then you may be surprised to find out that even though your actions have been well-intentioned, you are modeling low self-confidence, which can be easily past on to your children and damage other personal relationships. Think about it. Whom would your children respect more? – A mom who sets boundaries and is empowered or a mom whom is easily manipulated? And, as far as your personal relationships, who would be more desirable? – A woman who is confident and the opposite of needy or a woman who is a people pleaser and can be easily taken advantage of? Hands down, a confident woman wins every time! People admire strength and taking care of your needs can foster that admiration.
Developing more self-confidence isn't something that has to be seen as a big undertaking, especially when much of it involves boundary setting. In fact, it can be accomplished rather quickly if you stick to making a few changes at a time. You would be surprised how quickly the results of these changes add up! Because I am a believer in keeping things simple, here is a list of suggestions that you can consider for changing any of the above behaviors that apply to you.
Can't say No.
The next time someone asks you to do something, don't answer on the spot but rather get into the habit of responding with something like, "Let me think about it, and I'll let you know." Then, in the comfort of your alone time without any pressure, weigh the pros & cons and be sure to discount any thoughts along the lines of "It's just easier for everyone if I do it" or "If I don't do it, it won't get done the right way." Your mind has been doing an excellent job of convincing you in the past of all the reasons you need to say "yes" to doing things without really considering your feelings. If after you decide that what you have been asked to do is something that you don't want to do, don't give a reason, but decline by simply saying, "I thought about it, and it's not something I want to do, but thanks for asking." Be nice and matter of fact. Keep it simple and don't go into stating your reasons. If you explain yourself, you put your value as less than the other person's.
Can't stand up for yourself when some is mistreating or disrespecting you.
Moms deal with this one all the time, and so did I until my best friend literally would call me out and say, "Did you just let him talk to you like that?" Nowadays disrespectful attitudes are almost considered a right of passage for a teenager, and therefore, they are accepted. But, the fact is this: If your teen doesn't respect you, then he won't respect anyone! Obviously, this is something that a mom truly does not want, so here's what my friend taught me: The next time your kid talks to you disrespectfully, nip it in the bud with a strong, controlled deep loud voice that jolts, or even shocks, him or her. Be firm, to the point, and then leave the room. If he pursues the conversation, refuse. This can be difficult to do at first, but take it from me, deep down all kids want their parents to take charge because they know it's a sign that you care. Remember, kids learn respect from their parents, so by being firm on this issue, you are helping them be the best parents & spouses for their future families.
Going against your values in order to please others.
You may find that standing up for what you believe may seem difficult at first, and you may worry about losing relationships in the process "“ but as you continue to develop and implement the boundaries, you will gradually feel more empowered. I know this is easier said than done, but when you go against your values, you are crushing your spirit and creating negative energy that will get stuck in you and will eventually MAKE YOU SICK! Because our emotions are our body's way of letting us know if something is good or bad for us, start paying attention to your emotions. Our emotions are indicators of our thoughts, and as such, you need to be aware of them. Trust me on this one. If you ignore what your body is trying to tell you through whispers, it will eventually begin to scream at you to get your attention. Our Creator gave us emotions for a reason, so don't ignore them!
Taking on too much responsibility, draining your time and energy.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to simply clear your schedule for someone else? Of course, when you do this periodically, it makes you a genuine giver, but if you routinely disregard your responsibilities or previously set plans, so you can help someone, then you are putting out the ever-so-clear message that the other person's needs are more important than yours. Not cool and definitely not an attractive quality. You may be looking for more love or approval by being overly helpful. Be confident in your self-worth and know that you are worthy of love without having to extend extra energy. Again, your energy is important and you want to keep it flowing and abundant, so be conscientious of whose responsibilities you take on.
Having difficulty communicating your wants and needs.
When I think about this one, I think about John Mayer's song, Say What You Need To Say. This song brought me great encouragement to speak my own wants and needs, which, by the way, is much harder than just expressing your feelings. Not speaking our truth stems from fear, and in this case, is a sign that we need more personal boundaries. Without boundaries, we may become afraid that our loved-one will respond negatively to what we need to say to him or her. We need to establish personal boundaries, so we feel comfortable in expressing what's in our hearts. We also need to trust the other person and love ourselves enough to be willing to speak our just-as-important-as-every-else's wants and needs. We should be able to say anything to the person we love most, but we should do it in a non-threatening manner. If this is a tough one for you, then consider discussing each other's feelings and the issue of boundaries during a time when all is well. The last thing you want to do is bring up your wants and needs during an argument, when neither of you is capable of truly listening. If you don't speak up, you will create and store negative energy which WILL make you sick and most likely destroy your relationship. Remember these consequences the next time you feel like you have a knot in your throat, and hopefully, it will help you realize that by speaking up, you have nothing to loose and everything to gain.
Once you start to honor the boundaries you have set (or need to set) in your life and commit to implementing these 5 changes, you will start to feel more confident, more respected, and more empowered. Also, by becoming more confident, you will gain the personal power necessary to create positive change in your life, and you will also help your children be more confident as well – something all children deserve.