When I was growing up my parent’s stressed the importance of thinking about others first before reacting to a given situation. At first it seemed like the right thing to do, I mean who would want to intentionally cause physical or emotional harm to another human being in the first place. I agree people’s feelings must be taken into account when making decision to respond. While being respectful to others is a wonderful trait to possess, I also know there are people out there who know how to prey on these types of individuals.
These people will use their cunning ways to manipulate situations in their favor often making an individual feel bad about themselves or many times in the wrong. They know these individuals have a hard time saying no, don’t like confrontation, and are people pleasers. Armed with this knowledge they use it to push their own personal agenda’s on these poor individuals at work, business, relationships, and in recreational activities such as sports.
I was once confronted with a situation at the dojo where one student had submitted another student with a perfectly legal technique. The student who had tapped out complained loudly that it was dirty move and angrily walked off the mat. While the other student, was left on the mat red faced, embarrassed, and wondering what he did wrong. I’ve known this one student for many years, he is the most respectful caring individual, never once injuring others. In fact, he was often picked by others as an easy sparring partner. I guess they many had taken exception to the fact he had improved and was no longer the class “punching bag.”
One day he asked me if he did anything wrong? His stated he didn’t want anyone to be mad at him. I assured him that he did everything according to the book and he shouldn’t feel bad. In fact, I pulled out the international rule book to show him what he did was within the rules for beginners from 16 years old and up.
To make sure I did not leave any important details out, I then asked him if he had executed the technique carelessly without control thereby injuring his training partner? His response was no, he went gently and slowly.
I told him then you have nothing to be sorry about. I explained it’s not you that is the issue, but your partner who has a personal issue within themselves that needs to be resolved.
Look, I’m all about caring and respecting others feelings but there is a fine line that needs to be drawn into the sand to stop catering to an individual’s sense of entitlement. There are certain rules and boundaries which everyone is expected to follow in a gym, business, relationships, or even as a guest at someone’s home. Why does one expect to make up special rules to suit themselves above all the others around them? What gives them this right?
I wrote this article today to give a voice to people out there who have been career people pleasers, to stand up for themselves by reclaiming their personal power. Respect is a two-way street, if one is always putting others needs first, no one will respect you. Learn the power of saying no, and know that if you did not do anything wrong you don’t need to apologize to the person you had the confrontation with. Stop feeling bad, instead start taking your power back.
I speak from first-hand experience, I hated disappointing people. Most of all I disliked confrontation. This bad habit was formed at an early age after witnessing my parents often argue with one another on a daily basis. I remember vowing to have peace in my life when I grew up. The problem however was it conditioned my mind to allow others to walk all over me when it came to business, friendships, social situations and basically anything in life. I tell you, it doesn’t feel good when you are getting ripped off, watching it unfold before your eyes, knowing this is the case, but refusing to remedy the situation because you don’t want to make the other person upset with you. It caused me a lot of undue stress in my younger years, becoming emotionally draining in attempting to make everyone happy.
I credit the training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to turning this bad habit around. It gave me perspective, to sit back to analyze a situation, heightening my self-awareness to make the best possible decision before responding to a given situation. To be happy to make a decision on my terms regardless of whether the recipient was happy or not with my response. Most importantly to go to sleep at night without worrying about it for weeks, months, or a year later.
Start living a life according to your values and what makes you happy. Understand you cannot control other people’s thoughts, begin making yourself happy first, do what is right for you. Without worry about what others think about you, you will begin to feel…
- Less stressed as you don’t have to live up to the expectations of others, giving you back ultimate control of your life.
- Increased confidence knowing you have made a decision based on your terms not others.
- More productive focusing on your own goals rather than making others happy first.
- Improvement in relationships as people will begin to respect your boundaries.
You will reclaim your power, gain respect, but best of all still continue to give selflessly to others who deserve it.