The lyrics from the Moody Blues, ‘Say what you mean and mean what you say…Think about the words you are using…Speak for yourself…Say what’s on your mind…’ Are incredibly powerful. I wonder how many of us do so without problems, worries or dramas. Being ourselves and saying what we means only happens when we feel strong in our own identity.
Studies have shown that being authentic is critical in relationships. Sometimes easier said then done right? Actually, for those of us who often choose to sit back and wait to see what others want to say or do, practicing authenticity is an important lesson to work on. The truth is that continually ‘giving in’ not only wears thin but can cause deep seated resentments that frequently surface given enough time.
We owe it to ourselves and the people we are around to speak up – ever so gently – and be heard. Think of it this way, unspoken expectations can dampen or potentially end any relationship. If we are concerned about being viewed as pushy or demanding maybe it’s time to consider how we are presenting our viewpoints. Often, rehearsing in our mind a way to speak our truth without anger, challenge or negative energy being in the mix goes a long way to enhanced communication. When we are upfront and open about our likes, dislikes, preferences, etc. it not only helps us but really helps those closest to us. We take the guess work out of relationships this way. After all, a healthy relationship cannot be built on a strategy of 20 questions!
Balance, the give and take in life, is the key. We want to be viewed as considerate, of course, but have we allowed it to become an art form in our behavior? Consider this … how many times have you ‘given in’ and ate a certain type of food, watched a particular genre of movie or even traveled to a specific location that you were never truly interested in? Reflecting back now, did you bring your best self to the situation?
Often, we think that letting others decide and take the lead will make them happy. ‘It’s no big deal,’ we tell ourself as we try to justify why we chose not to speak up and state our desire. But the truth is it can become a big deal if we start to make it a habit. We can’t make others happy by continually giving in. It’s not only an unrealistic goal but actually double backs and resurfaces – often with a bang not a whimper – at the most inopportune times.
How many of us have actually ‘negotiated’ with a spouse, partner or even friend in reference to what we need or want. Have we been self-confident enough to state our preferences or desires? When we respect ourselves enough to state our own wants or needs up front, others respect us much more in the long run. Solid relationships are built on respect.
Equality starts with a belief that everyone’s needs and desires (including our own) are equally important. The next step is then practicing this belief. Let’s decide right here and now that we are worth it and engage in decision making rather than merely observe it happening. Everyone will be better off in the long run!
Have a great few days!