I am normally pretty good at standing up for myself, well most of the time anyway. For some reason I find being assertive at work a no brainer and don't think twice about it. Even with certain friends, you know, the kind of friends who nurture and support your every move, it really doesn't bother me. Out comes the assertive Lisa, saying how I feel without any fear of retribution or terror. Most of the time, If I am too pushy, my friends just laugh at me ;0).
However, some situations fill me with dread of having to honour my own feelings and say how I really feel. I know much of this negative thinking comes from the past where in a certain relationship, I would be ignored, shouted at or had my words twisted around my neck if I ever felt brave enough to say what I really felt. Also, I previously held a pattern of attracting toxic people into my life so often found myself rather nervous about speaking up for myself.
Needless to say, I am working on it but still find some of the old patterns creeping back in when I choose to swallow my words or even worse, chunter away in resentment towards to the person who probably has no idea why I am so annoyed with them. This behaviour always reminds me of one of my favourite quotes ' Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die' ( Carrie Fisher). Unfortunately, in some situations, I still feel rather anxious at speaking up, particularly when it is about an issue which is upsetting me. Lurking in the back of my mind is the nagging thought that I will be punished for speaking up and it really isn't a good move to rock the boat.
An interesting experienced happened to me this weekend. For weeks I had been feeling resentful due to another persons actions which I felt were thoughtless and rather bloody annoying. This anger and resentment had been building up inside of me and I really wasn't amused.
Finally, on Saturday, the steam came flying out of my ears and I told the person, in no uncertain terms, how much this behaviour was annoying me. Sometimes, I am not scared to admit, that I can go from being passive to aggressive rather quickly! Once I had said my peace, I waited for the explosion. I also thought about leaving the room quickly in order to hide before the atmosphere turned sour. Much to my amazement. NOTHING HAPPENED.
I waited, every part of my body went tense, just anticipating the angry or response or some type of retribution to what I said. But NOTHING HAPPENED.
In fact, the only thing which did happened is the person concerned, just smiled at me and said they would try to change their actions as it was causing me such distress.
Seriously, I was so shocked. I am so used to people shouting at me when I speak up that I just felt dumbstruck to how nice and healthy their response had been. Hurrah, I was safe!
Although to some people this may seem trivial, to me it was a big breakthrough in realising that it is safe for me speak up for myself. OK, I acknowledge that not all responses will be as positive but I did feel such relief in finding out that another person wasn't going to make a big thing about it.
So thank you to my previously annoying friend, you have taught me a big lesson!