We've all done it - given away our personal power to those around us - to family members, significant others, bosses, and friends. We submit to their needs, even to the detriment of our own. We say yes when we really don't want to or push something aside that we wanted to do for our personal gratification so that we can give the time to someone else. There may or may not be a thank you or any semblance of appreciation for your sacrifice, and it makes you feel like it wasn't worth it, regretful that you missed out on the thing you really wanted to do, or worse, resentful of the other person for making demands on you. You feel exhausted and ineffective as you move through life helping everyone else with their needs and neglecting your own.
It's time to reclaim your personal power and take back control!
The first step is to make decisions from the perspective of what's best for you. That's right. It's not being selfish or uncaring; more than anything, it's a way to care for yourself! This is a huge shift for many people. They grapple with the guilt of saying no, of feeling like they let down those that matter to them, and possibly even worry that they will no longer be accepted or approved of by the person. So how can you take this step while releasing the negative feelings associated with it and feel good about the decision?
- When declining the request, there is no need to apologize. Be cordial and diplomatic - "I won't be able to help you with that today" is sufficient. There is no need to provide an explanation as to why not or make a promise for future assistance if you really don't feel compelled to do so. Remember, you are doing what is best for you and using your energy for the things that you need it for.
- When someone makes a request of you - for your time, money, skills, whatever - ask yourself, "Is it in my highest good to accept this request?" As you ask, notice how your body feels. Does your stomach tense, does your heart race, do your shoulders droop? These are sure signs that it is not in your best interest to accommodate the request.
- Think about all of the things you've done to move others forward, to help them when they needed it, and then think about what you got out of it. Where you drained afterward or did you feel energized? Think about those who constantly ask for your help but never help themselves. Ask yourself if your assistance is really helping them or creating a dependency.
- Let go of the resentment you feel toward those who have taken advantage of your willingness to help them. Simply stop the behavior of accepting their requests. Determine the lessons you've learned from these experiences.
- Let go of the past. The past needs to stay there and not impact the now or your ability to move forward. Learn from it. Keep the lesson and let go of the emotions associated with it.
- You can still help others...on your terms...devoting the amount of time and resources that you are able without exhausting yourself.
- Allow people to deal with their own issues. It is not your responsibility. Your only responsibility is to yourself. For example, a woman I know was trying to make sure everyone in her life was fine, that all of their needs were taken care of, that they were happy, and that their problems were solved - by her. In the process, she lost herself. Again, it's okay to lend a hand, but being in service is not to be taken to the extreme of being in servitude.
Once you begin acting in accordance with your highest good, you'll be amazed at the transformations that occur in relationships and within yourself. Some relationships may gently fall away, and that is fine, others will change for the better. You'll find that people treat you with the respect that you are giving to yourself. You'll have more energy and a clearer sense of the best way to proceed in your life. In this way, you create your future in a higher vibration. Be kind, caring, and respectful of yourself in the same way you would to another. You'll be able to bring so much more to the world than acting in a way that gives away your power.
Remember, you can't please everyone all the time, and the only one you really need to please is yourself! There may be times when you truly want to offer assistance or do something for someone else and that's great; just be aware of why you're doing it and make sure that it will not deplete your ability to do the things you need to accomplish what is on your agenda.
There are times when help is needed in letting go of the past and building a bright future. Life coaching is a way to accomplish more in less time than treading the path alone.
© Diane Wing, all rights reserved