Updated: Jul 2, 2019
This is about increasing inner-strength, expressing more of who we are more often (in a way that brings people to us).
So, let's dive into the heart of self-care/self-love with a bit of tongue-in-cheek.
From the earliest ages, we are taught to share: my cookies, your wagon, his toy; but how much did we really learn?
Sharing hurt then, it hurts now. An unpopular view, I know, but do we really need to pretend otherwise?
Remember the fiasco over the last piece of cake?
“Go ahead and take it, it’s yours.”
“No, you have it.”
“No, you should have it,” etc., ad nauseum
Dr. Laurence Peter wrote, “There are two kinds of egotists: those who admit it, and the rest of us.”
I looked up that word, egotist: Those who are limited to or caring only about themselves and their own needs.
Those who believe Dr. Peter also believe that altruism is rare to non-existent, that there is a payoff for our every action and that even charitable acts yield good feelings (including that self-satisfied pat on the back).
When the opposition’s dust of outrage finally settles over that last paragraph, I ask this question: Is it really so bad to selfishly say what we want, loud and clear. I mean, what if everybody spoke up in their own self-interest?
As a wise man once asked, “Who is going to take care of me? You?”
Which brings us to the big question, the point of all this: Can we speak up for ourselves and care about others?
If your answer is no, then don’t speak up for that last piece of cake, the one just sitting there with several sets of eyes on it. Instead, wait for that painful moment of disappointment when another egotist does.
How to Do the Socially Impossible?
But it is not just cake, is it?
Have you been cornered and had to listen to someone talk at you? Or said Yes to a favor when you wanted to say No?
I have, and my reaction was somewhere between quietly irritable and inaudibly angry. I have also felt this way in other situations, like when someone threw their displeasure my way.
It is difficult to admit, but I was wrong to be angry at them; the culprit, you see, was standing in the opposite direction. It was me who was mad at me for not standing up for, yes, me.
I very much needed to say No to the favor-asker, stop the long-winded and speak up for the cake; but could not.
Yes, there were times I decided to speak up, built up my courage and went out with tight fists and a set jaw. And stayed silent.
And all my self-criticism, derision and anger made no difference. Holding back is the way I was raised—silence not confrontation—and I hated myself for being (what I thought was) weak.
The few times I did speak up, I needed my irritation/anger as a shield. I could not quietly and reasonably tell someone what I thought; it was too far outside my experience.
So, how can we learn a socially-difficult skill if we cannot get ourselves to even try? By practicing.
Choose someone with whom you feel safe, and ask them to help you with a difficult situation (and you will probably be helping them too).
For example, they could be one of those long-winded talkers, while you have some fun stopping them in mid-sentence, excusing yourself and leaving.
Or you could practice speaking up for that last piece of cake.
The fun of role playing can give you the strength, experience and courage to express more of who you are more often. And it can work in the most difficult situations, like confronting an emotional abuser.
One session will probably not be enough, so consider setting up a series.
And when you feel ready for the world, go out with gentle understanding and self-support. Let it be okay to botch it or even to stay silent.
If the worst does happen (or not), have some more fun practicing.
Persistence is the key. Because you deserve the feelings of accomplishment, increased inner-strength and higher self-esteem.
Keep All of Your Resolutions
(the easy way)
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Note: Role playing to strengthen ourselves is officially called Assertiveness Training. This link will take you to one of the best websites I have seen on the subject: http://www.mtstcil.org/skills/assert-intro.html
The only way to forgive. At this link:
The very foundation of personal improvement is self-care/self-love. Here is that link: https://www.danielsperaw.com/single-post/Self-Care-Self-Love-3-Tips--Raise-Your-Quality-of-Life