When was the last time you had to raise your voice and say “enough”? It’s not easy to do. This step takes a lot of personal courage and opens the doors to emotional freedom, but it’s no easy task.
Far from what many may think, people do change over time. Changes in our personalities, values and attitudes allow us to better adapt to life’s difficulties.
Instead of changing, people continue on and that is reflected in their mental and emotional health. Instead of fearing change, we should learn to look at it as another opportunity to find happiness, inner peace and well-being.
We’d like to invite you to reflect on that with us today.
Learning to say “Enough!”: an act of freedom
If we pause for a moment to think about all the “yes’s” we say throughout the day versus the number of “no’s”, we’d realize that we say yes much more than we say no, at the expense of our sincerity.
Our experiences growing up have been focused on being polite, saying yes to requests, giving thanks and being thoughtful in every situation.
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Now, it may be a noble act that enriches us as a person, but we also need to teach our children ways to be assertive. We’ll explain.
Why it’s important to be assertive
Assertiveness is, above all, how we defend our rights, opinions, and needs in a respectful way while keeping the other person in mind.
- This is, however, no easy task. In order to become more assertive, we need to first define our limits and protect our self-esteem.
- Once we’re aware of our personal boundaries, we’ll be able to better defend them.
- It’s about respecting and being respected. Knowing how to listen, but also how to use our voices to clearly explain our needs, preferences and what’s hurting us.
- Don’t be afraid to use the personal pronoun “I” (“I’m not willing to listen to you speak to me like that”, “I can’t stand this situation any longer, it’s damaging me”, “I feel under-appreciated and like you don’t respect me”)
Likely consequences of saying enough
All change comes with the fear and insecurity that’s generated by imagining all of the possible consequences that could result from our actions and our decision to change.
- Saying enough in a family situation is a little more complex because if these people react negatively they could reject us.
- Saying enough to an unbearable situation at work might mean losing our jobs.
- Saying enough in reaction to our children’s bad behavior might lead them to say things like they “don’t love us”.
- We all fear negative consequences, but instead of anticipating and fearing them, we need to stop thinking of what might happen and how we’ll react when faced with a potentially negative situation.
- It’s often more dangerous to stay in a bad situation than to do something about it and say “enough”. Sometimes, believe it or not, it can open up new paths that will leave you in better shape than you ever thought.
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The need to stay in touch with our values
Our emotional integrity is directly linked with acting in accordance with our own value systems and beliefs.
If we get used to always giving in, if we live our lives only to please others, there will come a day in which we’ll no longer be able to recognize ourselves in the mirror.
- That’s no way to go through life. Now, obviously, we all know that it’s practically impossible to always get what we want. Nor is it always appropriate to say what we’re feeling or thinking.
- We need to be consistent, principled and respectful with ourselves and others.
- In order to coexist, we need to be aware of the needs of others while listening to our own hearts.
- Our inner peace is non-negotiable, the same with our dignity. If we allow ourselves to take a backseat role in our own lives and let other people to step all over us, we’ll lose our self-esteem and it will severely damage our self-image.
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Be firm in your values. Listen to your inner voice and don’t be afraid to say “enough” when necessary.
People change, but not overnight. It’s a gradual process made of many small steps forward towards growth and maturity.