Are you too nice, too forgiving, too understanding? Get over your fear and speak up for yourself!
I probably won’t surprise any of you when I say we have limiting beliefs that our petty tyrant reminds us of on a regular basis. While there is wisdom in choosing our battles, letting people walk all over us will eventually backfire in one way or another taking its toll on our health and our relationships when our petty tyrant keeps us in her grip of fear and forever behaving like the "Good Girl."
- “Listen to me! Who do you think you are to say such a thing?”
- “Don’t talk back to people!”
- “Be good. Be noble. Be responsible and don’t rock the boat!”
Does any of that sound familiar? We all have our own petty tyrant who was born from all the beliefs, rules and behaviors imposed on us by parents, society, educators, clergy and anyone else who had their two cents to add in the words of guidance as we were growing up.
“Debby, now responsible people take the high road. They rise above arguments and confrontation.”
“Yes, Dad. Does that mean just being quiet and walking away?”
“Nana always told us, sisters never fight and we never did. We always got along.”
“Uh, huh, Mom,” refraining from rolling my eyes.
“Are you done? Good, I’m leaving,” I heard my mother say when standing up and looking down her nose at a salesman who failed miserably at closing the deal.
I was raised in a family where confrontation between my parents appeared simple. It was called avoidance. I was 18 years old the first time I heard my parents raise their voices. My father came home with a new car in a color that he was really excited about and thought my mom would love, a metallic royal blue Pontiac with a white vinyl top. My mother went ballistic about it because she wasn’t consulted and could not accept the fact that my dad bought himself a new 2-door car that was blue with a white vinyl top. My dad thought he was doing something really super by surprising her and besides, his company bought it so it wasn’t even about the money.
I was so upset by hearing all the screaming that I had never heard in our house before that I jumped into my car and headed toward that destination called inner peace and quiet, the place you go to when gripped by confusion and fear. I didn’t know where it was geographically but it was about 4 hours round trip. My disappearance caused my parents sufficient worry to deflect the knock-down drag out fight that I imagined was taking place in their bedroom. All over a stupid car!
Time To Set Your Boundaries And Find Your Voice On The High Road!
Fast forward to my adult life where I had to learn all about healthy relationships and conflict and confrontation on my own and break free from the avoidance booby trap. I, too, had prided myself on “never getting angry.” I even married a man who also claimed, “Anger? I never get mad. I don’t do negative emotions!”
And all the time, my higher wisdom was telling me that all emotions are valuable, conflict is normal and confrontation can be managed with dignity. Embrace all your emotions, honor them and let them traverse your body and soul rather than blocking them which only creates more internal conflict.
Today, 90% of my clients who take my Compatibility Index are shocked to learn that over 40% of their reactions when under stress fall into the two syndromes that smack of negative emotions and self-sabotaging thoughts and reactions.
The first one is “The Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda Syndrome” which sounds like:
- “Oh, damn. Why does something always happen to me?”
- “I feel lost in the crowd.”
- “I never get asked out.”
- “No one loves me or gets me.”
- “No matter what I say, it’s going to backfire.”
- “Is this as good as it gets?”
The second one is “The Adversary Syndrome” and sounds like:
- “Don’t get me riled up, buddy!”
- “It’s your loss if you don’t like me the way I am.”
- “I have to protect myself.”
- “Life is just really hard, no matter how you look at it.”
- “I don’t know what my real purpose is in life.”
The third one is “The People Pleaser Syndrome” and it’s a real booby trap. Since we’ve been conditioned by the beliefs mentioned above, we have learned that expressing ourselves is dangerous. People won’t like us. We’ll lose our reputation as a team player. We pretend we don’t know what to say.
All three syndromes are deeply intertwined and based in fear and lack. When you are a people pleaser out of fear of not being liked instead of being genuine, you end up out of touch with your true essence and out of alignment with your real values. You are so used to behaving according to the rules and values of others that you may not even know your own truth anymore.
How do you handle conflict? Which one of the three syndromes might be your default mode when you get stressed out?
Here’s to you taking the High Road of Boundaries and finding your own confident voice of self-compassion and power!