Have you ever found yourself staying quiet, even though you had something to say?
Have you ever said yes to something, even though you really didn’t want to?
Have you ever adjusted yourself in any way for the sake of someone else, even though it wasn’t really how you wanted to be?
If you have, you’re not alone.
It seems that somehow, from being taught from a young age to be polite, share, wait our turn, and not interrupt, we grew up and as we did, these behaviors grew with us.
The fear of breaking the ‘rules’ – of speaking out of turn, even when it’s speaking your mind; of putting yourself first, even when self-care is necessary – took over.
While those behaviors we were taught at a young age are valuable, they still need to be balanced so that we do not end up losing ourselves just because somebody else was not as worried about following those ‘rules.’
It is not our responsibility to make ourselves smaller just so others can feel better about themselves.
Does this mean that we should be rude, unkind, and abrasive?
Of course not.
It’s about balance.
It’s about understanding where your boundaries like and having the confidence to defend them when they’re crossed.
It’s time to stop making yourself small, and here’s how you can start today:
- Practice saying no to the things that you do not want to do.
- Only use the word “sorry” when you’re actually apologizing for something.
- Ask for clarification when you need it; don’t shy away from asking questions.
- Accept and acknowledge compliments given to you. Say ‘thank you’ without offering extra justifications or dismissing it.
- Intentionally schedule some time for yourself and use it to do something that you like.
- If you want something, ask for it. You may not get it, but that’s ok. Don’t assume the response to an answer without asking first.
- Order and eat what you want without explaining or justifying your choice to anyone else.
These are just a few things that you can start practicing today. It may take time to get used to asserting yourself, but that’s ok. Practice. Keep trying. What you have to say matters.
You do not need to make yourself small to make others feel more comfortable or get their way.
Take up space.
You have value and a right to be appreciated, seen, and heard.