Worth sticking up for

How many times have you held your tongue or put the needs of others before your own? Often the idea of being selfless is something that is praised but the reality is that it’s often just self-sacrifice.

When the person that puts others first is around people that put themselves first, they end up losing. The unfortunate truth is people won’t always be considerate of you so you have to be considerate of yourself.

Not sticking up for yourself can be a combination of people pleasing, avoiding conflict and a lack of self-worth. It often shows up in the smallest of ways.

It might seem like it’s not a big deal and it isn’t if it happens every now and then. However, if you spend your whole life not sticking up for your wants and needs then you’ll end up living a life that caters to other people.

Start slow, take it easy and remember that sticking up for yourself will always be worth it even if it feels difficult in the moment.

A life changing perspective

A running theme throughout a lot of my posts (and what has become the baseline for this blog) is this idea of life’s challenges and difficult moments having a lesson or a takeaway.

Having this perspective completely changes your life.

You go from things like blaming other people, being overly self critical, treating yourself unkindly and feeling stuck to feeling empowered with the ability to move through challenging situations with greater ease.

Let’s say you like the way you look but someone makes fun of your appearance. On one hand you could get upset, feel bad about yourself and feel anger towards the other person for how they made you feel.

On the other hand, you could accept that this person has an opinion, remind yourself that how you feel about the way you look is what matters most and see if there’s something worth learning there.

If the persons comment upset you, perhaps the lesson is that you need to work on your self-confidence. The takeaway could be a reminder that other peoples opinions of you shouldn’t matter more than your own, that you don’t need to take on the opinions of others or that you need to become more comfortable with not fitting into other peoples standards/ideals.

And then maybe you’ll go away and work on these things. An example of this might be embracing the way you want to look by going a week wearing whatever you want as a way of learning to become more comfortable with looking different. In doing so, you’ll probably realise that it’s exhausting to allow yourself to be bothered by everyone else’s opinion and that you feel at your best when you’re just being yourself.

This might seem excessive to some but the truth is that you can choose the way you look at things and how you handle them. Imagine if you faced every difficult or challenging situation with this kind of perspective. How different would your life be?

The last hurdle

Sometimes you can spend the whole year learning, growing and developing. It’s gotten to the point where you’ve now changed. You no longer do the unhelpful things you used to do. It may have been saying you’re okay with things that bother you, going out because you feel like you should and not because you want to or avoiding difficult conversations.

Then suddenly, just when you think the new you is fully ingrained, you stumble at the last hurdle. Often it’s because you’ve reverted back to an old environment where you’re unhelpful behaviour felt ‘safe’.

It’s easy to just do what you’re used to doing, what you’ve always done. But this time you have options. Before reacting to a situation, take a moment to remember all that you’ve learnt and choose to do something different.

Room to grow

People, like plants need room to grow.

I think in the same way that plants outgrow their pots, we as people outgrow our environments.

The issue arises when we end up staying in spaces where we don’t have room to be ourselves. You end up stifled and limited. Often, you end up thinking that you need to change, be less of yourself and more of what other people want you to be.

But, no matter what you do, it still doesn’t quite work. It’s easy to underestimate how much of an impact your environment can have on you, especially when the focus tends to be on the inner self.

A change of environment can feel like cheating because sometimes we tell ourselves we need to ‘stick it out’ but maybe a change is exactly what you need.

Remember the basics

Sometimes we find the in life we get so swept up in the exciting, fun and challenging aspects of life that we kind of forget about the basics, we end up off track.

I think this happens to everyone every now and then. It’s important to firstly understand what on track looks like for you and then secondly to know what you need to do to get back on track.

For me, being on track means things like having a set morning routine, having slow Sundays where I’m relaxed, eating regular meals and going to bed before I feel sleepy instead of just passing out around midnight.

In terms of getting back on track, I understand that it’s more based around how I’m feeling rather than what I’m doing. In terms of quick things to do when I feel off track, things like my morning mantra, meditation, EFT, tidying my space or writing a to-do list all make great starting points.

I generally find that when I start with one small thing I’m able to then move on and do other things sort of like a domino effect.

Do something that scares you

Halloween is the perfect time of year to be reminded to do something that scares you. It could be watching a psychological thriller that gives you heart palpitations and nightmares for a week. It could also be speaking up when you have something to say, saying no instead of yes or making an appointment with your doctor about something that’s been worrying you.

When things scare us our immediate reaction is often to run away from it because in our minds that makes sense and it’ll keep us safe. However, when you run away from something, you’re actually just avoiding it. It might not be an issue for today but it’ll be still be there tomorrow. And when you avoid something but know that you’ll have to face it eventually, you end up heightening the fear.

Suddenly, just the thought of speaking up is giving you heart palpitations and affecting how you sleep.

You have the option to face the thing that scares you and do what needs to be done. The outcome might not be perfect but what matters is that you tried. You might speak up and feel like you didn’t get your points across well. But if you keep speaking up you’ll keep improving. Then, one day it won’t even be something you have to think about, you’ll just do it.

Setting boundaries badly

I think a big reason why we sometimes avoid setting boundaries is because we think don’t know how to do it. However, it turns out the setting boundaries is like everything else, getting good takes practice.

And so like Zig Ziglar said ‘anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you can learn to do it well’.

Instead of shying away from setting boundaries because you think you’ll do it badly, embrace where you’re at and in time you’ll get better at it.

What matters most?

Sometimes the choice you have to make is between taking care of yourself and meeting other peoples expectations.

Nobody wants to be considered a let down which is why often people end up putting themselves aside and focusing more on other people. But you shouldn’t treat yourself as though you don’t matter, you matter just as much as everyone else.

It shouldn’t take you sacrificing yourself in order for other people to be happy.

And maybe you haven’t even realised that you’re doing it. Perhaps it just takes you looking at things as an outsider to realise, you’re so focused on meeting other peoples needs that you’ve stopped making time to tend to your own.

The power of letting go

When it comes to making things happen, we sometimes underestimate the power of letting things go.

We have to make room in our lives for the things we want instead of holding on to the things we no longer need for the sake of nostalgia or fear of change. Sometimes, we feel like letting go means we don’t value things. Other times, we convince ourselves that holding on to the memories will not be enough.

You might even be holding on to the fear that if you let go of something you’ll end up wanting it back or that nothing else good will come into your life.

But letting go is powerful.

It shows that you’re not willing to keep what you don’t need, that you believe better is possible and that you’re open.

On the flipside, holding on to things that you no longer need shows the total opposite.

Everything could be different

So often, we get deeply and strongly attached. We hope that things will remain as they are.

We fear that change might bring in what we don’t want and clear out what we do want.

But, I like to believe that as wonderful and perfect as things might be right now, everything could be different and still be wonderful and perfect.

That serves as a reminder that it’s okay for things to change.

There is no need to hold great attachment to the way things are, in doing so we don’t allow space for the new.

New might not be ‘better’ but it will be different. It’s the opportunity to experience something you’ve never experienced, it’s a chance to learn and grow.