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.
Your good advice is wasted on those that just want a listening ear.
It’s easy to know when you don’t want someone to tell you what they think you should do. But how often do you extend that to other people.
Have you ever found yourself giving what you believe is excellent advice only for the person to totally ignore it?
Perhaps you weren’t paying enough attention to understand that they didn’t want advice in the first place.
Well not yet anyway.
I consume a lot of YouTube and social media content, most of which comes with comments. Something I’ve learnt is that reading the comments before watching the content can totally skew your view.
You might not even realise that your opinion is not your own but simply a mix of the other peoples opinions you’ve just read.
I think it’s important to be able to watch something or look at something and form an opinion about it without knowing what other people think first.
When I first discovered NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), it felt pretty radical. I was going through a difficult time and it helped to have something new to learn about that could in turn help me. I bought a book, read it and it changed my life.
It wasn’t so different that it felt weird or hard to take it. But it was new enough that I found myself evolving in order to become open to it.
I was a fairly pessimistic person at the time with a lot of unhelpful beliefs so the idea that underlying every behaviour is a positive intention was hard to take in. Yet at the same same, something like if what you are doing isn’t working, do something else felt pretty wonderful.
When you’re going through a challenging period life can feel very rigid and brittle, as though change isn’t quite possible. But then I had this book telling me that I could just ‘do something else’ which almost didn’t even occur to me at the time because I felt so stuck.
And so today lets highlight and celebrate the journeys we’re on, the things we’ve overcome and our ability to embrace life with a little more flow because change is always possible.
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?
Seeing the bright side of every situation has it’s perks.
It’s not about pretending that nothing bothers you or acting as though every experience is positive.
It’s more about adopting the kind of mindset that makes you resilient to the challenges of life.
So perhaps in moments of sadness, you can remind yourself that it’s okay to be sad and you will get through it.
And a challenging situation can serve as an experience for you to practice everything you’ve learnt.
The alternative is to wallow and complain which is okay for short while but pretty unhelpful in the long run.
Often in life when we’re going through a difficult time or something unideal happens we end up feeling stuck. We think it’s because our situation is just so awful and terrible. However, often we end up stuck because we aren’t putting enough of our effort and energy into the solution.
For example, lets say you got made redundant. You then spend the following days or weeks talking about how you didn’t deserve it, how X person should have been let go instead of you, that it’s not fair, you’ve been hard done by, it’s ruined your life, constantly dropping your redundancy into conversations and wallowing in self pity.
As much as it’s important to acknowledge a difficult situation, there’s little to no benefit in dwelling.
Instead, you could focus on moving forward and getting a new job. That could involve updating your CV, researching companies to apply at, filling out job applications or thinking about what you want your next career step to be.
A new job might not come come quicker but I think that being pro-active can do wonders for boosting your morale.
When you’re used to doing things alone, the thought of asking other people for their input, ideas or opinion might not be so appealing.
But often seeking the perspective of an outsider is much more useful than we realise. They’re able to see things from a point of view that is not so easily available to us.
I think sometimes we just want to say that we did things totally and independently, we don’t want other people playing a part or being involved. But if we could only welcome input, ideas and opinions from the right people it could actually be the very thing we need to help us when we get stuck.
Sometimes when you’re so used to being independent and doing things alone, the idea of collaboration and working together is unappealing. After all, your past has shown that you don’t need to work with someone else to get things done, so why should you change that.
However, sometimes from collaborating with others it allows us to focus on our strengths. We’re then able to produce something that is much better than if we were to try and do everything.
For example, lets say that you work in product photography/prop styling.
A job may require someone to source props, someone to come up with a theme and provide creative direction, the stylist who puts the props together and then a photographer to take the photos.
Just because you can do all those jobs yourself, doesn’t mean you should. You may be an amazing prop stylist but if you’re not really a photographer maybe working with one would help you produce better results. And of course you can learn new skills but sometimes trying to split yourself between too many things just reduces your ability to do any one thing well. This then brings brings down the overall quality of the final result.
And so, maybe it’s worth shifting our perspective to realise that sometimes things might be good when we do them alone but they’ll be better if we do them together.
How you feel about something one day, might be totally different to how you feel a few months from now.
It could be about food, a tv show or a hobby.
Maybe you grew up reading a lot of fiction and you were the sort of person who felt like non-fiction wasn’t for you. You may have even felt like it was boring or that you could never be immersed in non-fiction in the same way that fictional stories managed to capture, engage and entertain you.
Then, suddenly somewhere along the way, you have a change of heart. Maybe it just took one good non-fiction book but maybe it happened bit by bit. Either way, you no longer see things the way you used to.