Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say!
Is it difficult for you tell people how you feel and what you want? Many of us struggle with feeling like our wants and needs are unimportant. We have trouble accepting and caring about our own feelings let alone thinking someone else actually wants to hear them. Learning how to assert your thoughts, feelings, desires can be extraordinarily difficult and scary when you're afraid of rejection or possible embarrassment. But lack of self -assertiveness can have devastating consequences on our self-esteem and our lives.
If I have the ability to be self-assertive, I do not pretend to be somebody that I am not. I live authentically, I do not try to be someone else. I am comfortable in my own skin and I don't attempt to try to get you to like me. I can think for myself. My life does not belong to anybody else and I'm not here to live up to other people's expectations according to Dr Brandon(The 6 Pillars of Self-Esteem).
Many times people come into therapy conflicted about some decision they have to make and when I pose the question "what do you want?", they stare at me confused and unsure of how to answer. Often times their response sounds something like this-" I don't know, I never thought about that." Then they go on to tell me what the various people in their lives think or expect, etc. They are fearful to even allow themselves the right to have their own desires. It feels wrong to them, selfish. But what people don't realize is their failure to assert their feelings creates deep resentment, anger and anxiety within them and wreaks havoc on their relationships. Their desires do not go away, they live on and seek to be acknowledged through more manipulative, passive-aggressive ways which in turn cause various problems in their relationships.
It is not selfish to believe you have the right to exist, be happy and ask for what you want. You may not get it, you may have to wait, you may have to compromise or relinquish your desire all together for some reason or another, but to deny that you have the right to your feelings, desires, thoughts; to deny their truth, only serves to diminish your self-esteem and thwart your God given talents, abilities and purpose.
You were created with a specific purpose in mind. No one else has the exact combination of gifts, personality and experiences. When we spend our lives trying to be like someone else, we miss out on the opportunities God has for us.
You have the right to exist! You have the right to live and be happy. You have the right to live in peace, to be loved, to be safe. God says He came to give us life more abundant (John 10:10)! How can we possibly live an abundant life if we don't even believe we have the right to exist and be happy?
Today ask yourself, "If I wasn't afraid of ...., I would.... ". Then ask God for the courage you need to think for yourself, assert your feelings, and go for what you want. The more clear you are able to be with yourself, the more clear you will be with others. The energy you used to repress and deny your feelings will now be freed to create more of the life you want. We can learn how to be assertive without being aggressive, we can learn to be direct and let go of passive-aggressive / manipulative behaviors, we can learn to say what we mean and mean what we say and to speak our truth in love with respect for the other person and consideration of their feelings as well. As we do our self-esteem will grow and become stronger and our relationships and our lives will improve and become more of what we want them to be.
-Christina Samyan, MSW, LCSW