Many people develop beliefs that lead to avoiding conflict in the short term, but create long term resentments and loss of self-respect. Beliefs that interfere with self respect include:
- “saying no is selfish”
- “Making requests of others is self-centered”
- “It’s wrong (selfish, bad) if someone gets upset with me” and
- “I should sacrifice my needs to others”
- I can’ do it. I’m stupid. I’ll mess it up.
Everyone worries about standing up for themselves to some degree. But, if you’re stuck in thoughts that you don’t deserve it or are fearful of the consequences of asserting yourself, it may be helpful to counteract some of your beliefs and worries.
Some thoughts that might give a person the courage to act on their own behalf include:
- I have an obligation to stand up for what I believe is right.
- It is helpful to work out my differences with the people I love.
- Discussing and resolving differences can increase intimacy.
- My needs are as important as others.
- I have a right to assert myself, even if it may inconvenience others.
- I am under no obligation to say yes, simply because I am asked
- Saying no does not make me selfish.
- I can feel good about myself, even if someone is annoyed with me.
Modifying beliefs that keep you stuck is one of many methods to achieve your goals. Keeping in mind that you have permission to act on your own behalf is a great way to balance a high sensitivity to the needs of others. When you notice that you’re worried or feeling guilty, practice repeating some of the challenges above to yourself.
Photo by Irene Nobrega, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.