“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Suess
Situation: Someone “borrows” things from you and doesn’t return them
Try this: Explain the situation, “I’m out of cash and need the $5 you borrowed.” Express how you feel, “I keep worrying about it and I’d be relieved to have it back.” Ask (and possibly offer a solution), “can you have it for me this afternoon? I’ll text you to remind you, before we meet.”
Situation: You clean the house and a partner leaves clutter and dishes all over, expecting you to pick up.
Try this: Start at a good time, “I want to talk about the house, is this a good time?” Give him or her reason to listen, “I know you care for me and feel it’s important not to let little things become big problems.” State the facts, “yesterday I spent a lot of time and energy picking up the house and once it was clean, I found myself picking up your dinner dishes and clothes.”
Say how you feel, “I love you and enjoy doing things for you, but I also feel resentful when I feel I’m the only one picking up.” Ask for what you want (you may need to be specific), “can you take on the dishes, after dinner for the week?” It never hurts to give another reason why this is good for both of you, “It’d take a lot of pressure off of me and would really help.” Be willing to listen to his or her point-of-view and negotiate to find a solution that works for both of you.
We can feel taken advantage of in both big and small situations. Basic principles of standing up for ourselves include: Articulating the positive aspects of your request, describing (without judgment or all or nothing language) the situation, expressing your feelings, asking or saying no, and keeping it positive.
Some short hand ways to ask for what you want:
“Excuse me, can I have…”
“I’d like …. Please.”
“I was hoping I could ask you for …”
“What you’ve offered is great, but doesn’t work for me because… Can I have … instead? Thank you”
“I’m confused, can you explain it to me?”
“I’m sorry to bother you, but can you help me?”
Short Hand ways to say no:
“I care about you, but I’d appreciate it if you’d stop X (annoying or problematic behavior).”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t have money to lend.”
“Thanks for X (thinking of me, getting me something), but I really don’t need it.”
“I know you’re trying to help, but I can to do this on my own.”
“It’s not going to work out, sorry.”
“No, but thanks for thinking of me.”
“I’m not comfortable with that.”
“Your timing’s not good. Maybe another time.”
“It won’t fit into my schedule.”
“I promised myself I would never do that.”
Sometimes it’s hard to stand up for yourself. Often we don’t want to disappoint someone or make them angry. It can be tempting to cut some corners to get out of difficult situations with lies or by acting helpless. In the short term it may be easier to lie, rather than explain a painful truth or to pretend you don’t know how to do an annoying chore. But just as giving in erodes your self-esteem, a pattern of interacting with others with lies and helplessness can leave you without much sense of personal worth.
...and there is more for you from the same author...
6 Life Lessons From Dr. Seuss
From getting along with others to standing up for yourself to acceptance of life’s difficulties, Dr. Seuss’s (Theodor Geisel) stories can teach us a lot about how to navigate through the world. His stories are often silly and fun, but they are also wise, perceptive and full of good advice.
In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday and National Reading Day, here are some of the lessons we can learn from Dr. Seuss.
It’s important to stand up for yourself and stick to your values, even when you’re worried about what others will think or believe that your point of view is unimportant.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
“I meant what I said and I said what I meant.”
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
“I know up on the top you are seeing great sights, but down at the bottom we, too, should have rights. “Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories””
In life we all need things that produce positive emotions both in the short term and long term. We are happier if we find things we enjoy and do them.
“If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good”
You can improve how you are thinking about your current circumstances and change how you feel about them.
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
Both good times and bad times come and go. Enjoy the good times while they’re here and let them pass on when tomorrow comes.
“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
Don’t underestimate your ability to solve your own problems and make your own decisions.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
Finally, Dr. Seuss knew that it is important to acknowledge the realities of the world and a given situation, even if you don’t like them.
“I’m sorry to say so but, sadly it’s true that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you”
...and probably the last one for this month...
How To Lose Your Self Respect in 4 Easy Steps
Sometimes we all cut some corners to get what we want or need. Want to stay home on a beautiful day after a long winter? Call in sick. Don’t want to cook dinner? Act like you don’t know how. It’d be easier if someone else were helping you with a project? Exaggerate the difficulty.
In DBT, Linehan outlines 4 primary factors associated with loss of self-respect.
Lie--Tell lies, exaggerate, act helpless when you’re not and over time your self-respect will slowly erode. Sure a few little white lies or a slight exaggeration here and there aren’t going to significantly impact how you feel about yourself, but a pattern of bending the truth will whittle away at your self-esteem.
Compromise your values—If you want to lower your opinion of yourself, sell out your values, especially for reasons that aren’t important. Often people find themselves compromising on values in an effort to keep the peace. It’s hard to rock the boat and sticking up for yourself can sometimes feel like you’re risking a relationship. But failing to stick to what is important to you can alter your connection to your own sense of self. Over time, you may feel that you don’t really know yourself anymore.
Apologize Over and Over--We all make mistakes and apologizing is an important part of maintaining relationships. However, over apologizing—apologizing for having basic needs, for asserting yourself, for asking a question, for being in someone’s way or not anticipating their every need—is a sure way to lower your sense of your own worth.
Be Unreasonable—If you’re not fair, whether it’s towards yourself or others, you’re ultimately going to feel it in your sense of self. Do you regularly take advantage of someone’s naiveté? Do you allow others to push you around out of fear? Taking unfair advantage of someone who has less power than you or allowing others to take advantage of you will hurt your sense of self.
Often, acting in this way works to get us what we want and need. However, a pattern of interacting with others with lies, exaggerations and helplessness can leave you without much sense of personal worth. The occasional lie isn’t going to have a significant impact on your self-esteem, but lying often will.