If you were to consider the decisions which are being made in your life that have an impact on you, and how you spend your time, how many of those decisions would you say were actually in line with your own personal desires?
How often would you go along with other people’s plans without voicing your own thoughts and feelings about how you would like YOUR time to be spent?
We are all guilty of ‘people pleasing’ and ‘following the crowd’ at certain points in our lives, but just take a moment to think of how regularly you might watch TV programmes you dislike just to ‘please’ your partner. Consider how often you visit that bar you can’t bear just to ‘please’ the company you’re out with; and while we’re on the subject of the company you socialise with, how many of that group would you consider to be real friends? How many of those in the crowd would you rather not spend any of your time with at all because they make socialising in that circle less worthy of your time?
These are all valid questions when it comes to analysing how much you need to recognise your feelings about the situations you find yourself in, and expressing those feelings in a way that allows you to spend YOUR time in the way that you really want it to be spent.
By neglecting your feelings and continuing to watch those TV programmes, or regularly being around the people and places that endlessly drain the life out of you (only because “this is what you’ve always done”, or you “don’t want the fuss”) then there’s room for a world of fulfilment in your life that you are simply not letting in.
The words of the renowned American educator, Marva Collins (1936-2015), explained it perfectly: “Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself. Imitation is suicide.”
How can I express myself without conflict?
When you’re stuck in a long established, habitual way of ‘just accepting things’ decided by other people, the thought of ‘slamming your foot down’ all of a sudden may seem a little daunting.
Don’t worry, that’s not necessary.
Just simply being aware of how you feel, understanding exactly what’s causing those negative feelings, and only when you fully understand your dislikes clearly in your own mind you can then express your feelings honestly and politely with enough clarity and structure to even gain understanding and respect (there is always a reason behind our feelings).
If you are giving your reasons to go against a decision, its almost always beneficial to have an alternative option in mind.
Here’s a little example off the top of my head:
Darren: “Why do you not want to go to that bar Paul? We always go there and you’ve never complained before.”
Me: “We do always go there Darren, that’s the problem matey.”
“I wouldn’t mind if a few people in there had teeth and I couldn’t smell their toilets from the next village, but how about we head to the bar down the road? It’s a much nicer place!”
I realise that interaction was a little daft there, but:
- I acknowledged Darren’s point (keeping respect).
- I introduced the word ‘matey’ (to keep things polite and friendly).
- I explained the reasons for my dislike of the bar (which might have actually helped him notice it for himself).
- I gave an alternative option (to make changing the plans an easier decision).
Just remember, things don’t always go our way. So, if the crowd still wish to sit in that awful bar then perhaps they will compromise moving on to another bar after a certain length of time, or suggest another place for the next time you head out.
Maybe there’s something else you’d rather be doing with your time if you don’t get any positive outcome at all, but that’s down to them ignoring your wishes and nothing to do with you.
This is only one example, but the method fits most situations.
Just acknowledge any objection, use friendly words, explain your reasons and give an alternative option.
It’s easy really, isn’t it?
Make it a habit
Start just by noticing when you’re not feeling good about something, that’s all you need to do as a starting point. Then think about why ‘that something’ makes you feel so bad.
Once you have a clear understanding in your mind of exactly what’s got the kettle boiling in your bladder (or annoying you, even) then you should feel ready to break away from being a ‘sheep’ and, by expressing yourself regularly, you’ll create more opportunities to live a life designed by you, rather than allowing others to design it for you.
Start small if you need to, and build up from there… Your time is precious and it belongs to YOU!!
The happiest people don’t follow the leader, they create their own openings.