As females we learn how we should behave, think, talk, act, and live our life. These teachings come from our parents, family system, community we grow up in, and society as a whole. As we grow up, we form our own personal narrative of how we should conduct ourselves. I want to challenge your personal narrative of how you should live your life, especially if it isn’t helping you today.
Rule 1: You ‘should’ always say yes.
Break the Rule: Say no as much as you want to.
Do you dread having to say no or worry about what someone will think of you? It is common for women to have a difficult time saying no to people in their lives. Many women think that they will be seen as rude or not nice if they say no to those that make demands of their time. The struggle to say no can lead you to become a people pleaser. The idea of being a people pleaser seems nice, but it can lead to many personal issues that effect you and your relationships.
It is possible to say no in a pleasant way. To get started you have to give yourself permission to say no when someone asks you for something. If you continue to say yes to requests that you don’t want to do, you will begin to feel resentful and angry towards the person. This frustration will grow, while leading you to stuff and stack your feelings. Then you may even look for ways to numb or avoid what your feeling. For example, many women use food and other destructive behavior to deal with emotions versus face them.
Learning to say no is like riding a bike, once you start, it gets easier each time. Take a deep breath, say no when you want to, and begin to feel freedom.
Rule 2: Put your own needs last.
Break the Rule: Take care of yourself first, if you want to continue helping others.
You have probably heard the saying “You can’t pour from an empty tank”. This is what you need to remember when you think about prioritizing your needs as a woman. You have many different roles such as a wife, partner, girlfriend, mother, stepmother, daughter, sister, friend, and employee just to name a few. These roles demand a vast amount of your time and emotional energy.
Woman typically find themselves in a nurturing role and are the one who takes care of those around them. If you continue to take care of everyone around you first with the idea of caring for your own needs last, you will be on track to burn out leaving you unable to take care of anyone.
You have to take are of yourself first. Start by knowing what your needs are emotionally, spiritually, physically, and intellectually. Even if you are only able to spend 20-30 minutes a day caring for these needs, it’s better than nothing.
Rule 3: Don’t speak your mind.
Break the Rule: Speak your mind as much as you would like, but don’t be aggressive or passive aggressive.
If you don’t speak up about what you feel, think, or need then there is no one to blame but yourself. Whether it is at work, school, in your relationship or friendship, it is imperative that you voice your thoughts at the appropriate times. Don’t live a life of regret and wish you had spoken up.
This doesn’t give you permission to say anything you want at anytime. Also, avoid coming across as aggressive or passive aggressive. There is a lot of power in your words and voice, so you it to help you get your needs met.
Get started by identifying what barriers keep you from speaking up. Make a plan to remove or change the barrier that blocks you and start practicing. Be assertive and stand by your words. The easiest way to start this is with an “I” statement. For example, “I think/feel/want/need/would like…” You can get better at saying no, but you have to start now.
Have you broken these rules? How did it help you improve your life?
Everyone has different personalities, behaviors, and ways of handling themselves. Maybe you have already broken these rules and found what works best for you. Maybe you are ready to start living your life by saying no, prioritizing your needs, and speaking up. Wherever you are in your self-growth, don’t give up because the more you practice this, the easier it gets.
How do you feel about these rules? Share your comments in the section below. Thank you for checking out this post. If you enjoyed this article please share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In.
Dr. Kristie specializes in sex therapy, relationships, and transgender identities.