If you’re used to always being the one to bend to the needs of another, you might reach a point where you decide to change. Perhaps after an epiphany about the importance of balance.
When it comes to some change, the advice is to go slow and take it bit by bit. However, when it comes to changing a habit of compromising, it’s probably more helpful to go cold turkey.
The reason for this is that no compromise allows you to gain clarity on exactly what you want to do for yourself without taking others into account.
It’s then from a place of clarity of your own needs that you can learn to compromise properly.
People that are used to people pleasing know what it’s like to put their own wants and needs aside.
Sometimes, you convince yourself that you’re just compromising to find a balance. This is fine, until you realise that you’re the only one willing to change. This could all be with one person or apply to your life overall.
You can become so used to doing it that the thought of doing anything else feels wrong.
But the thing about bending, is that it can lead to breaking. However, before you reach breaking point you end up bent out of shape. By this I mean, you’ve spent so much time bending (meeting the needs of others) that you’re no longer yourself. You’ve become what you think other people need you to be.
When you’re engaging in the art of compromise which is the overlap in the Venn diagram of 2 people’s needs (or a balanced back and forth of meeting one another’s needs without self-sacrifice), it’s fine. The problem occurs when you consistently go outside of your circle into another’s, so that they get what they want.
People become so used to you doing it that they may even push back at you if you stop compromising for them.
However, sometimes it’s only when you stop and reflect on how you act that you realise you’re doing it but also the negative implications, one of which is your needs never being met.
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?
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?
But more specifically, what do you do to support yourself when you feel overwhelmed?
The answers might be exactly the same or perhaps you can’t find an answer to the second question.
Maybe when you’re overwhelmed you go into an unconscious downward spiral. You might not know it yet but maybe taking deep breaths, doing EFT or going for a walk are things you can do to support yourself.
Those are some things that I find useful.
If you don’t know what works for you, it might be worth taking the time to figure it out.
Sometimes we put our expectations and ideals on other people without considering the other persons own wants and needs. We feel empowered when other people meet our expectations and ideals.
This is fine when things go our way. However, it is important to be able to accept that the other person is entitled to their own expectations and ideals too.
Sometimes they won’t align with yours which may lead to them saying no instead of yes. This can result in a form of tantrum behaviour.
The thing is though, even though you want what you want, it’s not healthy to want it at the expense of the other person.
It’s not healthy to want another person to be miserable, inconvenienced or go against their own needs just so you can have your way. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with asking for what you want.
You just have to keep in mind that you might not get that from the person you’re asking it of. But I believe that it is so important to give people the space to be themselves instead of trying to force them to follow your expectations and ideals.
And sometimes the best thing you can do is stop putting your stuff on other people and meet your own needs.
Assuming the worst is easy to do but rarely beneficial.
Sometimes, most often when you’re too inside your own head, you can end up assuming the worst. This then leads to action (or over-reaction) about something that wasn’t even true in the first place.
You’re more than likely to end up regretting it, wishing you’d just taken a little more time to consider the situation, before deciding to take action.
The idea of opening up is often used to refer to situations where perhaps you’re going through something. You’re advised to open up to allow people to do things like support, help and care for you.
But I like to apply the idea of opening up to those that are closed off, in general. Perhaps you don’t open up because you have a fear of being seen. Sometimes, the truth is that you’ve allow yourself to be so consumed by the potential opinion of others that you’ve taught yourself to be as neutral as possible.
This can show up as being someone who finds it hard to say what they do and don’t like. Perhaps you’re used to saying things like ‘it’s fine’ when it’s not or ‘I don’t mind’ when you really do.
Maybe you think that no one will listen, maybe you don’t value your voice. It could even be that you’re just trying to avoid attention.
But the game of life is that by choosing not to open up you end up in situations where you don’t feel comfortable, you don’t feel heard and you’re accepting things you don’t want. Meanwhile you think that by being closed off and essentially hiding you’re making things easier for yourself.
Opening up not only gives you space to be yourself, it gives others the chance to see you as you are.
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.
Most change takes a period of adjustment to acclimatise to the new way of living. Yet so often we’re in a rush instead of embracing the settle down period.
Change is like a wave. It can be big, ferocious and and pretty intense. But then it eventually settles.
We tend to view the adjust period as a negative thing, something to get over as soon as possible as though it is something terrible. Change can be all of those things but it doesn’t have to be.
It’s not about getting overwhelmed by the new and falling apart each time your life becomes different, it’s about paying attention to where you are, how you feel and what you need.
It probably doesn’t seem like much or like it could possible be enough but sometimes all you need is 5 minutes.
So often we tell ourselves that we don’t have the time for certain things. They could be things that take minutes not hours or days but somehow we still find a way to make excuses.
Perhaps you’re feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. A thought comes to you that maybe meditating might help but you push it aside because you feel as though you don’t have the time.
But what if you just gave yourself 5 minutes.
I’ve found that more often than not, the act of slowing down to meditate even just for a little while works wonders. And other times, I am reminded of the importance of making time to slow down and so I give myself 20 minutes, half an hour or even an hour.
The problem is rarely that you don’t have time but instead that you aren’t willing to make time for the things that will actually benefit you.