Learn to say NO
If you haven't said No before, then the first few times may not be easy. You may not feel comfortable. However, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Practise saying No. Make it a habit and it will be easy for you to let your mouth follow your heart by saying No. Feel the true freedom that comes with being able to make your own decisions and be in charge of your life.
When you're really clear on what you want out of life, it becomes so much easier to stand up for yourself. For example, say your friend wants to borrow your clothes, your car, some money or your new computer; or the friend you've been dating is putting the hard word on you ... stand up for what you truly feel is right for you at this stage of your life, practise saying it out loud - No!
So many people help others, to the detriment of their own life and health. You won't be able to help anyone if you're sick, so even though it may be challenging, say No when you need to look after yourself. This way you stand in your integrity and increase your own self esteem.
Go for what you want
Here's an example from my book "Students Steps to Success"? (www.studentstepstosuccess.com). I'm sure that the gist of this example could be applied to any age.
Michael has a dream of being a champion swimmer and his goal is to compete in the next Olympic Games. Now with that sort of ambition you need a lot of dedication and some sacrifices have to be made.
Michael has a new girlfriend, Cathy, who is putting pressure on him to come out during the week and go to late-night parties on weekends. All of this isn't good for Michael's tight schedule of early morning training and early nights after a strenuous and full day. Cathy doesn't really understand the amount of time necessary for Michael to devote to his goal.
Michael really likes Cathy and wants her to continue liking him, but in the end he has to have a relationship that is compatible with what he wants from life. If it isn't, then it would be destructive to all he is working towards. He knows he'd hate himself if he sacrificed all he had been striving for. So Michael told Cathy that he couldn't hang around in groups where people were smoking and drinking alcohol and that he could only handle one late night a week. Anything over these limits would make it hard for him to get up at the crack of dawn for training.
Cathy thought he might have been saying that he no longer wanted to see her, but Michael explained that he did want to see her, only under conditions that would fit in with his routine. He suggested that they discuss ways that were satisfactory to both of them, whereby they could both still see each other.
Learn to be assertive
The choice is yours, to be Aggressive, Passive or Assertive.
Aggressive people don't listen, they "abuse" others by shouting, putting them down, ordering people around and being generally pretty mean and hurtful. The aggressive person comes across as being irritable, uptight, harsh and reproachful. As a result the aggressive person's self esteem can suffer as they beat themself up about being a "rotten person" - there's guilt, remorse and perhaps shame. And that's assuming the aggressive person realises their own aggressiveness! And what does the other person involved feel? Probably the same - pretty bad.
And what about being the passive "doormat" - ever been down that track? The passive person allows others to trample all over them, put them down, won't speak out, even though they have something relevant to say, won't make decisions, seem reserved or timid. Passive people basically set themselves up as a target to be taken advantage of and let someone else call their shots. In other words, the passive person lets others run their lives.
Be accountable for yourself - nobody else can do it for you - the responsibility for being what you want to be is up to you.
If you get into a situation where you need to be assertive, take a deep breath and go to your Peaceful Place. See yourself calmly speaking about how you feel and see the other person responding calmly too.
Remember, all feelings are OK. It's the way that they are expressed that is important. Did you know that you can express your feelings of anger or frustration in a calm way - just by simply and calmly stating how you feel. If it is a question of what someone has said or done, you can calmly point out to them that this particular behaviour has left you feeling hurt, angry, or whatever the feeling may be.
Once you learn to be assertive, you will only ever want to be that way.
To help you become assertive, the first thing is to have good self esteem. Feel good about yourself. And if liking yourself is something you have to learn to do, then start by writing down all the good things about yourself. Everybody has good things about themself, eg. I am a loving sister/brother, son/daughter, I'm cheerful, I have a good sense of humour, I'm energetic, enthusiastic, intelligent, good, lovable, I'm good at sports, I'm a good friend, I'm honest, I'm reliable, I'm a good reader, I'm a fantastic piano player ... clarinet ... flute ... guitar ... or whatever, I'm great at computers, I organise my time well, I am polite, I'm considerate, I'm helpful, I'm thoughtful, I'm clean and tidy. Fill as much of a page (or more) as you can with all the good things about yourself.
Another step to being assertive is knowing what you want. Once you know that, you can ask clearly for what you need or want, and handle the reply - whatever it is. Also you will be able to stand up for yourself if anyone disagrees with you.
Being assertive is also about not putting other people down, and also treating them as you would like them to treat you - respecting their point of view and their likes and dislikes, even if they are different to yours.
Like saying No, being assertive is not always easy at first, but the more you practise, the easier it becomes. You will have respect for yourself, and others will feel the same about you, even though at first it might not seem so.
In the beginning some may sneer or criticise and judge you for standing up for yourself, but you can bet your bottom dollar that underneath that facade they admire your strength. In fact, sometimes they may even be envious.
Learn to like yourself
Feeling good about yourself will make you feel good and it will have a snowball effect. Keep up that list of good things about yourself and add to it. Get your best friends and family to tell you what they like about you - and return the favour - tell them what you like and admire about them. Look in the mirror and tell yourself what a wonderful person you are. Put your arms around yourself and give yourself a great big hug.
Laugh a lot. Humour has a therapeutic and healing effect and is actually being used in some hospitals as a cure. The same can be said for relaxation - the benefits are enormous, so take time out to deeply relax every day, as often as you can.
A great 30 second tool
A great tool is to build yourself an "Anchor" (A Peaceful Place CD number 2 - Guided Imagery). In the CALM Seminar we build an Emotional Anchor whereby all good positive emotion from previous life experiences are put into a movement (say the sliding of your thumb over your forefinger). This movement now represents all the wonderful, positive feeling from many different good events. So what an Anchor does is elicit all the good positive emotion that first went into the body when it experienced that event. In other words you get a flush of good positive emotion when you give yourself your Anchor ... it's a great self esteem tool.
Meditate for a positive self image
I have a meditation available (A Peaceful Place CD number 10 - Self Worth and Confidence) which when used will build self esteem as a new habit. It's great to know that you are a truly wonderful, special person and that you are worthy, with your confidence growing more and more. As we already know one of the biggest keys is unconditional love of yourself (and others).
So, know that "loving yourself" is taking responsibility for yourself and remember IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME. Please definitely practise all the practical ways above to increase your own and others' self esteem.
I wanted to write to thank you, I had a tooth operation with the extracted tooth not wanting to come out and with two dentists starting to get a little concerned and 2 hours later, I ended up really starting to think that it had a lot to do with my mind and that I was holding on because of the fear factor.
I took some really deep breaths and started to think back to what you delivered at your conference and for the first time really put into action that thought process of letting go, relaxing, finding that calm place. I focused on saying to myself, the tooth is going to release and within 2 minutes of this process – it came out and was done. What a relief! So thank you.
You are on my mind often and I forward all your emails to clients and friends. WA Qld
I attended your seminar 6 months ago in NZ and basically my life has changed more in the last 6 months than the last 6 years with respect to mental thoughts. I suffer from PTSD and double depression (ongoing dysthymia with natural bad experiences in life) I am a very troubled person in my head a lot of the time, but this has improved significantly recently.
Several factors that I've put it down to: started on Prozac 2 months ago and having a good result, meditation and being saved by Christ.
Going to church once a week has proven great in my healing and being able to gain trust in humans again, as I was terribly bullied as a child, by other kids at my school and hence have PTSD. The PTSD had reduced significantly due to openly talking about my thoughts! I've been in therapy now for 6months and fully recommend it!
Your seminar changed my life in that it helped me in my healing. I still have a lot of the ugly stuff to deal with, like nightmares, Umm actually I'm quite horrified at how long I had been in depression for, there is a lot of processing still to be done. Thank you very much. JL NZ
I was present to thoughts and feelings at the beginning of the CD that it was all too hard and would'nt work and realised this is one of my blockages etc in life. It felt so great when the words all came out so easily just by asking.
My Life's Purpose chart is upin my bedroom on the built ins sliding mirror doors. The recent wedding I MC'd at was great, I used the techniques throughout the evening and found I was at ease and experimented more with my performance.
And when I have negative thoughts or anxious feelings in my stomach I now know it is my subconscious up to its old tricks once again. At least now there is a way to not have it control me.
I will send you the lyrics I wrote some time soon. Talk soon. CD NSW
All The Best