I chose me. The power of being assertive
I need silence.
I need to calm my mind.
I need to call forth the quality of clarity and balance in my life.
I need to recover a sense of identity.
They say the quieter we become the better we know ourselves; the deeper we go, the more we hear and find ourselves.
I keep questioning myself,
What are the payoffs of remaining stuck?
What is the cost of settling for appearing good instead of being authentic?
How can I speak up for myself without fear?
How can I embrace my relationship to fear?
Many questions emerge in this process of exploring the contours of my psyche and the only answer I can possibly think of is:
I am willing to dive in the dark inner abyss to see clearly and acknowledge that I deserve to live a life according to my values.
There are going to be casualties and its fine I need to let go and cut the cord some people will not like my empowered self but is totally fine I cannot make everyone happy.
Reflections extracted from my mourning journal
With this reflection, I start to rethink a time in my life when I realized I could not accept others to be the cause of my constriction, tired of embracing a long-suffering non-assertive people-pleasing persona that gave me a false sense of identity. My facade was cracking, I needed to go sane but it felt like going crazy.
Afraid to appear mean, selfish, arrogant I lost myself, I was imploding inside, I was self-destructive.
There is nothing more excruciating than losing yourself in others while never learning to care deeply about ourselves.
We live in a society that projects the wants and needs of others upon us, the phenomenon, related to the individuality (self/esteem and being assertive) and our sense of capacity it is totally conditioned to other people’s opinions.
What is considerate to be an intimate patrimony (self-esteem) it is visited, revisited, and constantly changed and all of this happens by our fear of being excluded; that is why we allow to be puppets or submissive to others.
I guess change starts to happen when we deeply asks ourselves what do we want for our lives and if we really want to be in a position of victim, unhappy and repressed.
It is not easy to reorder the self and brake free form this odyssey and sometimes it is hard to be vocal about our needs and wants but it comes a time in life were we need to create boundaries so others do not mess up with the natural development of our wishes and desires that we want to fulfill. I always had and still have to remind myself that lack of boundaries invite a lack of respect.
I was convinced that my needs, feelings were wrong and a burden to others as a recovering people pleaser I was afraid to have personal responsibility so I developed a strategy started in my childhood for getting my needs met in relationships but it was a flawed strategy on mistaken beliefs. The subconscious strategy was to ignore my own needs and feelings and focus on the needs and problems of others.
I desperately needed to be liked in order to be happy, I struggled to advocate for myself, and I had the unconscious, uncontrollable compulsion to repeat this behavior despite the significant negative consequences.
It” boosted “my sense of self-esteem (People pleasing high) being a fixer, victim, rescuer and non-assertive so I wouldn’t deal with my own problems, my shame and fear, I preferred to remain stuck instead of breaking free.
For a people pleaser, to avoid conflict or a dispute it is the easy route It is easier being at fault than taking a stand and sticking up for the self.
When you are a People pleaser, you become highly invested on what other people think. Do they like me? Do they approve of me? Are the daily internal questions and you start to twist and contort your behavior and speech, the things you say yes or no based on that response.
The way someone else perceives what I do is a result of his or her own experiences (which I cannot control).
Their own preferences and tastes (I cannot predict).
Their own expectation (I do not set).
If my choices and thoughts do not match their expectations that is their concern, not mine.
Took me years and tears to learn these principles, in order to develop personal responsibility I had to work on developing certain habits and abilities like not allowing to be stuck in self-pity, not blaming others for my choices, mistakes, and failures.
I learned that I am responsible for my choices and consequences, behaviors, self-esteem, happiness, character defects and imperfections, the problems I face.
A life of internalized anger was released and I started to expand I was cracking open of all that did not serve me.
Alfred Adler beautifully affirmed: relationships are the definitive proof of the social preparation that a human goes through; it is in this way that we will know if the individual walks a path of cooperation, exchange, sharing or competition, fight and domination.
When we are in contact with manipulative and obnoxious people, it is very important to refuse to offer words that are aggressive, it is important to be mindful.
Many times, we block our energy with anger instead of using this anger productively, transforming it to creativity; as Duke Ellington said, “I just took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues”.
When our intentions are to be in the moment we lose our need to control how people behave or react we stay in our energy and power.
In addition, it is important to remember that some people are willing to respect our boundaries, but some are not.
It is challenging, it takes time to set healthy boundaries, I had to learn to be firm and I was tested many times, especially by those who felt the need to manipulate or control me.
I had to remind myself that I am not responsible for the other person reaction to the boundary I am setting; I am only responsible for communicating the boundary in a respectful manner.
Reflecting on speaking the truth and being assertive
For me, was very challenging and sometimes still is to respond instead of react, when you encounter or deal with narcissistic and manipulative people daily can be very easy to snap and loose the temper.
However, what I have realized with time from my volcanic explosions is that I always got drained, sad and with the poison of the other person; Dreams of verbal revenge consumed my mind and I felt sick and stressed from all of this emotions; arrogance is truly contagious.
The greatest conqueror is who overcomes the enemy without a blow, Lao Tsu said.
Fighting, arguing or insulting are not smart solutions, our body, mind suffers, and nothing is resolved.
I confronted myself many times and still ask myself, why sometimes we want to prove to other people that we are smarter or more eloquent on insults?
Why do we have to say No in a rude manner and loose our personal power?
Why we elect our “enemy” as our judge and desire that he assumes is fault or recognizes that we have amazing or cutting response skills?
Why do we care and give credit to stupid people?
Those started to be my questions, speaking the truth and being mindful is about self-control, being assertive and sometimes giving the silent treatment. Because sometimes silence speaks lauder than words.
Jiddu Krishnamurti has a beautiful saying: when our major objective is success, we cannot liberate ourselves from the fear because our wish of success makes emerge the fear of failure.
This quote for me has a valuable lesson because when we have this necessity to win over the Narcissist and become masters of dialectics we give them power , we block ourselves and stress makes us become stupid and at the end we remain stuck.
Yes, I cannot lie, sometimes I wish I had the ability of the sitcoms comedians that have any answer on the tip of their tong, but then I remember that it is just television and they have a script so everything appears easy.
I always have to remind myself that is important to reshape my expectations and it is worthless to put myself under pressure for people that do not deserve.
When we are out of pressure the ideas flow better and we are able to stay in our power without the needless necessity of impressing others especially people who are disrespectful, controlling and make comments of low quality in communication.
The process of learning to set healthy boundaries will allow emerging of the true self, if others get upset that is their problem. I do not need people who disrespect my boundaries; I have the right to take care of myself.
A successful clear boundary is only established when there is no mixed message by apologizing for doing so, it is important to be firm, clear and respectful.
I believe the difficulties in being assertive come from the fear of vulnerability, vulnerability does not just mean being willing to share fears or insecurities.
Vulnerability it is putting ourselves in a position where we can be rejected or asserting an opinion that may offend others; vulnerability is a form of power and as Mark Manson said: Vulnerability is saying to the world I do not care what you think of me; this is who I am and I refuse to be anyone else.
I was not vulnerable, that was my biggest poison in this assertiveness game, fear to show my rough edges, and the most valuable lesson of all of this is IF you can name the poison then you can name your remedy and my remedy was dropping the need to be liked. This was a liberating insight, people do not have to be interested in me and mostly they do not have to approve of me.
There is no need to torment myself, anyone can have their opinion I just uncomplicated my life and I gained personal responsibility.
I cannot let people’s opinions determine who I am. Instead of worrying about what others think, I choose to devote myself to my life and dreams, I chose me.