Hmmm, what does this actually mean? I often here people say they are simply standing up for themselves when in actual fact they are being critical of another or trying to convince them they are wrong. So inevitably this ‘Standing up for self’ approach doesn’t work.
I am sure you have all heard of the phrase – you must walk a mile in anothers shoes. Well – my Grandad – or Puppa as we called him said it to me many times as I was growing up. I was blessed for most of the first thirteen years of my life to know this wonderful soul and to live with him and Nan on what was to be our family property.
So – instead of me keeping on saying why were my parents punishing me by not letting me have a trampoline like all the other kids – I had to ask a different question. What was it about a trampoline that my parents didn’t like? Well – in actual fact – finally at the age of both 8, 9 and 10 I would end up asking a different version of this around Christmas time. Obviously patience was something that I learned early. It was rather simple and it was all about focus for them. They indulged me in my true passion of horse riding even though they had very little money to their names. So – their questions back to me where always – what are the most important things to you. My answers were always school and horses. Consequently – it wasn’t that I was unloved – it was that I was very indulged with a very limited resource.
How does this translate to you? Think about the last time you bugged your partner about doing the ironing and he said – yes – I will do it! Now it is two days later and the mountain is piling up and you feel that you have to get it under control and you seethe about him being irresponsible. Did you take into account that he was going to do it on his next day off which hasn’t occurred yet? So instead of thinking him lazy – maybe your chat about it needs to explore each other’s expectations.
Don’t take me the wrong way here ….. I do believe that all relationships need to meet halfway and yes – sometimes you have to insist. Oh yes and this is very much easier to say than to do. I prided myself on being a very reasonable person during my first marriage. Well – I got confused between being reasonable and allowing my partner to behave unreasonably in return. This allowed him to continue to treat me unreasonably. And yes – it erodes your self confidence and self – esteem. But as they say – live and learn and my second marriage now is happier than I ever dreamt of in my life and it is all because I learnt this lesson very well.
And lets face it – we all know that we all come from different backgrounds and pasts and all of us have a varying degree of what is absolutely necessary to us and what isn’t. What is most important is not is this right or wrong – but what are our opposing points of view and how do we meet part way and resolve this?
And this is true too in all relationships – not just our personal ones. In our friendships and work relationships too.
Here are my tips for standing up for yourself:
- Always ask the question of yourself first – am I being reasonable.
- Then ask – what is important to the other person.
- Approach the other person in a non accusatory way. Stay calm, don’t go on the attack or defense – ask your questions with genuine curiosity. Let them know you are trying to work with them.
- Should this approach fail – it is time to insist on at least being heard. The other party must know that their behaviour to you is not acceptable and that there must be some resolution. But remember – be reasonable.
- If you can’t be heard – don’t engage any further at this stage. It is pointless keeping this approach up if there are no results. The other person must be told though that to you at this point in time their behaviour is unacceptable.
- Then you must go away and cool off. Don’t sit there and continue to complain to yourself how much of an idiot the other person is. Just go away and cool down. And this goes for the other party too. If you notice that they are getting angry or upset – suggest a time out to refocus.
- Come back to the situation when you are both cool and try again.
However, let me stress at this point that both violence and bullying are both unacceptable behaviours and if you are experiencing any of this you must seek professional help in this sort of situation.
So – that is my thoughts for the day. Hope you enjoy.
Here is to your successful life.