“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no ones definition of your life. Define yourself.”
~Harvey Fierstein ~
Why do you allow people to talk to you like that?
Is there a sign on your forehead that gives people permission to talk to you in an unacceptable manner?
I am reminded of a conversation I had with a friend of mine who constantly complained about her boss from hell!
She told me that her boss never passed up the chance to talk down to her and criticize her in full view of her co-workers. The feelings of shame that overcame her after those episodes made her feel so “small” and belittled to the point where she felt completely helpless.
Trips to the Human Resource department had proved fruitless and only led to more trouble with the boss. The situation with her boss had eroded her self-esteem and left her feeling terribly frustrated and unhappy. Her life at work had become a nightmare and that nightmare had begun to affect her relationships and her life at home.
She knew she had to put a stop to this madness but could not muster the courage to deal with the situation. So she let it “eat away” at her, deprive her of sleep, stress her out and totally throw her life out of balance. For some reason, she just could not stand up for herself.
Why was she putting up with it? She gave me a long list of valid and invalid reasons about why she could not just quit her job including the fact that the economy was in bad shape and that she had bills to pay! I totally understood her position because sometimes you really can’t afford to just pack up and leave. You have to weigh the situation, make informed choices and then make the right decisions for you. You can’t keep running away all the time either, so you have to learn to deal with the situation.
Sometimes people get caught between a rock and a hard place and need to build an extra muscle to help them survive the situation while waiting for better opportunities to come along. I call it the “stand up for yourself muscle.”
This muscle is your voice. It allows you to speak up for yourself and express your opinion in a manner that doesn’t infringe on others while still making your position clearly known. It represents your truth and allows you to be in integrity with yourself.
When you speak up for yourself in this manner, you are being assertive and you are standing up for yourself.
One day, I received a phone call from my friend in the scenario above. She told me that one afternoon, during an “episode” at work; she asked her boss in a firm but polite tone “could we please have this conversation in private?” Her boss was taken aback but nonetheless agreed to her request. Fortunately that was the beginning of a new phase in my friend’s life. She had just developed her “stand up for yourself muscle!”
Just like my friend, you too must be the first flicker of hope in your life and the engine of change in your situation. The change must begin with how you perceive yourself. It requires courage and self-love.
Speaking up for yourself doesn’t necessarily mean being confrontational. You can learn to deal with conflict without being aggressive. One simple step you can take to help you find your voice and build your assertive muscle is to learn how to say NO! Let people know when something is unacceptable and when your rights are being violated. Don’t feel guilty or explain why you said NO because you have a right to say NO.
Don’t lose your sanity, find your voice, speak up, stand up for yourself and enjoy your life today!
“The soul that is within me no man can degrade.”
Caroline Jalango is a life coach for women who are ready to take steps toward living an exceptional life. She helps women strike the match that sets them ablaze to discover who they are, explore and expand on what they can do and take action to achieve their goals. Are you settling for less than you deserve because you are stuck or are you stuck because you are settling for less than you deserve? Send your responses to Caroline@motivationzone.com or visit www.motivationzone.com