When Is Enough Enough?
I'm sure I'm not alone when I tell you that there have been many times, over the years, that I've been in situations - all kinds of situations - where I should have either backed out of, or put a stop to, something that was making me feel uncomfortable, unhappy, or even angry.
On a couple of occasions, even my safety was at risk.
But I didn't.
Ranging from I didn't want to upset someone to I thought I could handle the situation, and occasionally I was too frightened - paralysed by fear; I had all kinds of reasons (and excuses) for accepting things that were unacceptable. For not standing up for myself, and allowing people to treat me in ways that didn't reflect my true worth and value.
So if you're in a similar situation right now, or you know someone who is, how can you or they re-gain your power and put your foot down faster?
Here's a few tips.
1. Are you happy? Life is a journey, packed with twists and turns galore. And, quite frankly, it can be stressful enough without adding more to the load. So if you're not happy, whether it's at work or in a relationship or something else, you need to assess where the problem is, how it can be changed or addressed, and then act on it. If you need outside help, source it. If you need to talk to a friend or work colleague, talk to them. Find help, and make the change to happiness.
2. Listen to your feelings. I know from my own experience that I accepted things WAY in excess of what I should have done simply because I didn't listen to my feelings, or my gut instinct. Sometimes my warning bells were going off so loudly that industrial ear defenders wouldn't have masked the noise in real life; and yet, still, I ignored them. Why? Because I'd got so used to not listening to what I wanted, and so keen to make everyone else happy that I ignored how I felt. Because, of course, saying what you want, and going for what makes you happy, won't always make everyone else happy in the process. However, the thing to remember is this: your life, your choices, your chances. As long as you aren't running roughshod over someone else, and being deliberately cruel, do what makes you happy.
3. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. When we're at the point of realisation that things are so awful that we aren't sure where to turn, we can often be ambiguous both in what we say and how we behave. Sometimes it's because we're nervous about standing up for ourselves, sometimes it can be because we're frightened of the reaction we might get. Or perhaps we don't even understand what it is that's making us feel this way. It's critical, therefore, that we are clear in our language, without being antagonistic or aggressive (unless the situation genuinely warrants that response), and then follow through on what we say. No half measures, no going back. Say it, mean it.
4. Make a plan. So you've listened to your feelings, determined that you're not happy, and you've said what you mean - now you have to have a plan. Why? Because saying enough is enough when you're not the most confident person in the world can be a big deal, right? It certainly was for me the first few times that I did it. What helped was thinking through all the things that could happen and might be said, from I say this, they say that; right through to what will I do if X happens. That way, although I couldn't legislate for everything, I at least had an idea of what the outcomes might be, and what my place in them might look like. It just gave me comfort to know that I'd thought things through, and had a plan of action.
5. Be brave. Standing up for yourself, saying enough is enough, takes courage. It isn't easy, and it's not nice. However, you deserve a life that's free from drama and upset, and one which gives you warm and fuzzy feelings - at least most of the time! - so don't be afraid to work towards that. You aren't the only person who's had to do it, and you certainly won't be the last; remember, you're among friends here.