Before I worked on myself (for over 25 years now - and the journey continues) I had difficulty saying NO to others as I was afraid that people would not like me anymore. Yes, I was a people pleaser until I got seriously ill from trying to keep the peace and please everyone. I worked with therapists and coaches to let go, forgive, and create healthier boundaries with others. Sometimes we need to detach and let go of people who, in spite of our efforts to improve the relationship, continuously do not honor our requests.
You might say, “Easier said than done” however don’t despair. Follow some of the tips below to start having more peaceful and harmonious relationships with others.
1. Be Assertive (vs being aggressive).
In her book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” Doreen Virtue (p. XXV) states “assertiveness means that you’re aware of your feelings and opinions and that you state them to yourself and others in a way that respects other people’s rights. An assertive person is kind, peaceful, and gentle yet never apologizes for his or her feelings, because feelings are to be honored and respected.”
Many people confuse being assertive with being aggressive. Aggression is different from occasionally losing your temper, where you basically demand the other person to obey your rules and you don’t care about the other people’s needs or feelings.
For example, if you are in the habit to saying YES to every friend/social obligation, try prioritizing and only attend events that make you happy or nurture you. Yes, do help your friends in their time of need, however be honest with them and you don’t even need to take time to explain, just say that you need some time for you. How powerful is that!
2. Accept all who you are, including your lesser strengths and imperfections.
Many of my clients also suffer from being a perfectionist which often stems from feeling unloved and believing that you need to be perfect to be loved. A daily exercise could be to look in the mirror and say to yourself “I love you. You are special and unique.” It can be challenging in the beginning, however it gets easier. See more on this in Louise Hay’s book “The Power is Within You.” We all have unique gifts and talents and you are no exception!
3. Do self-care and nurturing activities DAILY
It is very important that you create healthy daily habits. Not everyone wants to meditate, however if you can even set aside few minutes a day and just breathe, or repeat an affirmation, such as “All is Well in My World” or I also love this one from one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh, “Breathing in, calming. Breathing out smiling. Present moment – wonderful moment.” In addition to that, take time for regular meals and exercise/movement. Going for a walk around the block will not only help you to stay fit, but also helps you to feel more at peace and experience more joy.
So this year, make a commitment to yourself that you will honor yourself first. Happy Valentine’s Day!
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