Anyone who has low confidence and self-esteem will know that a lot of one’s energy goes towards forgiveness and empathy. Towards worrying about what others think of you.
When we do this, we give others the opportunity to walk all over us. Partly because we don’t wanna lose the people we happen to have in our lives.
But also because we’re used to thinking of forgiveness and empathy as good things. – In fact, don’t most people raise their kids into thinking like that?
And so, this can easily lead to being a pushover. Being people-pleasing and putting up with way more shit than you ought to.
Even putting up with being hurt. And even repeatedly.
We might try to justify it. Downplay it. See it from the other person’s perspective. (“He’s probably been having some rough times lately, so it’s only right that he vents, and maybe I can help out a little by letting him take it out on me”.)
Ultimately, none of those things help us. In fact, in those situations they only harm us. — By assisting us in neglecting the one thing that should, ideally, matter the most to anyone:
Our own needs.
If we’re not used to asserting ourselves, setting boundaries for ourselves, having standards for ourselves, and saying no, we slowly let our own needs deteriorate. And if you don’t allow yourself what’s vital for yourself, what kind of person do you expect to be??
Now, forgiveness and empathy aren’t bad things in and by themselves. But they don’t necessarily solve anything in and by themselves, either.
And sometimes, forgiveness and empathy might do us more harm than good! This tends to happen when we cultivate them towards other people first, and towards ourselves second.
When you have confidence, you have no problem putting your own needs ahead of others’. Confidence, among other things, means conviction that you deserve whatever you want in life.
“But how can I be convinced of that?? We’re all just people! So how am I “better” than anyone else??”
Nobody said you were. But nobody said you weren’t, either. And if anyone did, what would you expect to gain from listening?
Also, if you please others more than yourself, aren’t you living by something equally as arbitrary, only self-destructive?
Think about it: If you don’t put your own needs first, how do you expect to get anywhere in life??
“But if I put my own needs first, won’t people think I’m being selfish/egotistical/stuck-up/narcissistic/etc.?”
Yeah, notice how that’s still worrying about what other people think.
First and foremost, we need to realize that opinions, whether our own or others’, are simply opinions.
They’re not necessarily true or false, they’re nothing more than different perspectives. So, we need to ask ourselves, “What perspectives can I use? And what perspectives are harmful to me?”
Now often, we do NEED other people’s perspectives. So as not to get stuck in our own, and so as to provide a certain amount of experience when needed. But there’s a world of difference between that, and living by other people’s opinions.
This week, assert yourself just one more time than you normally do. If that means just once, it’s still better than none. It might mean not taking a certain task upon you even if urgent. It might mean putting some time off for yourself each day. Or it might just mean telling someone to piss off, plain and simple. Turn off your phone and work on something that’s important to you.
Anyone should do that every single day. Because it doesn’t make you an asshole; it just makes you self-assertive and confident.