Listen and Read: How To Bend Without Breaking
One thing that most people use as an excuse in giving up the control they need in their lives is other people.
Other people get in the way.
Other people make demands on their time so that they aren’t able to achieve the things that they want to accomplish.
Other people are responsible for the fact that they aren’t able to get their lives organized and really take the reins.
While it can be true that other people may pose interesting challenges when it comes to achieving our goals, the fact is that there is a difference between accommodating others and having healthy relationships versus bending over backwards to be a people pleaser and spending way too much time in doing so.
People who master their destinies don’t do it by kissing other people’s backsides. They do it by putting their goals as their top priority and achieving them by any means necessary!
This doesn’t necessarily mean putting other people on the back burner. The fact of the matter is that humans are social animals, and we survive and thrive in communities where we help each other to evolve and learn.
We work with people who rely on us, and if they find that we are willing to compromise ourselves for them, they will put us to work until we reach our limits.
But many of us have a tendency to want to make everybody around us happy, and sometimes that means putting our own happiness on the line.
It can seem impossible at times to please everybody around us, and the person who wants to focus on mastering their own destiny should take this as a lesson.
It is impossible to make everybody happy. That is why it is most important to make sure that we are focusing on ourselves.
This is not selfish.
Actually, it is quite the opposite. When you are in an airplane that is crashing out of the sky, you are more likely to be able to help your elderly seat-mate if you know to put your own oxygen mask on first.
When we don’t wear the oxygen mask, we can’t effectively help those around us, because we haven’t taken care of ourselves first.
This is a lesson that anybody with a tendency to people-please should keep in mind. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we will not provide ourselves with sufficient care.
That can be dangerous and difficult for us to reconcile later, when we find we are so bogged down with the weight of other people’s problems and expectations that we no longer know who we are anymore.
The key to mastering your own destiny is in being able to let yourself have the freedom you need to say no. You can still be a social animal.
You can still cohabitate with others and enjoy your team at work and achieve goals in a group setting.
But the trick is in being able to set healthy boundaries so that you don’t end up feeling as if you are being taken advantage of.
Like the mighty reed, we need to bend, compromising only what truly needs compromising in order to succeed. We cannot break ourselves by taking on too much weight at once.
Anybody who can step on us to serve themselves is likely to do just that.
What we need to do is to learn how to set healthy boundaries. And the first step in doing so is to put the oxygen mask on yourself and identify where in your life you could be more assertive.
This can be difficult, as balancing family and domestic matters can often be a difficult and messy task.
In this case, it is best to sit down and have a mature and respectful conversation with your family members or roommates about what household expectations are and what is reasonable to expect from you considering your responsibilities.
Once a system is in place here, it is much easier to assert yourself. For example, if it is a roommates turn to do the dishes, you can simply state it is so and refer to the agreement.
This can be done assertively without any guilt on your part or temptation to simply buckle under the pressure of unmet duties that one might expect you to take on yourself.
This is just one example of many. Being assertive may seem intimidating, but it is the most rewarding thing that you can do.
Being assertive requires a firm understanding of your own boundaries and limitations.
Make sure that you think carefully about what it is you are willing to do, and what is too much for you.
Be willing to be honest with those around you and stay firm when you tell them no.
People respect a person with boundaries, and people pleasers usually end up very unhappy and aren’t always treated well.
Setting boundaries will make it that much easier to master your domain once and for all!
Goal: Sit down and write a list of things that you feel you do out of a people-pleasing habit.
Address each of these ways with assertive but calm ways that you can respond to these situations and set a healthy boundary for yourself.
For example, if you feel that a co-worker takes advantage of the way you pick up the slack for them, simply stop picking up the slack and let them know that you do not appreciate what they are doing.
Practice communicating calmly and clearly without being accusatory, such as using “I” statements, so that others will be willing to accept your no for what it is and are less likely to perceive it as a personal attack.