4 Ways to Stay True to Yourself
Do you ever fear that voicing your needs and desires —saying what you want — makes you selfish and will cause people to dislike you?
Are you terrified of taking a stand for yourself — saying “no” or “I don’t want to” or “I disagree?” Are you so desperate to fit in and please others that you completely dismiss your own wishes and innermost needs?
I get it! I have been there…done that. I use to do things like go out when I really just wanted to stay home. I am also, not one of those people that like talking on the phone for a long period of time. I can find something much more enjoyable to do with my time. Yet, there was a time when I would allow someone that wouldn’t allow me to one word in to control my time by complaining about their life. I did so, because I was trying to be a good friend, but then I realized the other person was not being a good friend, by only having a one-way conversation and had to learn to end the conversations when I’ve had enough.
Voicing your needs takes courage, but it’s worth the effort. But how exactly do you muster up the energy to stay true to yourself and your needs and never return to a place of self-neglect again?
- Learn to Love Yourself
This may be the most difficult part, but the truth is that this is the most essential part of all. You will never fully stand up for yourself and be courageous enough to voice your own needs if you’re not comfortable with, and proud of, whom you are.
It’s like when you end a long term relationship, you have to get to know yourself as you would a new partner or friend. Accept yourself fully — flaws and all — because everyone has them.
Begin to practice self-care, speak positive affirmations and giving yourself the credit you deserve on a daily basis. The longer you practice these things, the more confident you will be — and the better you’ll be able to say what you truly want.
Might voicing your needs come with setbacks? Yes! Some people won’t understand the changes or simply won’t want to accept them. You may even have to face the end of some relationships. If you don’t have a really strong relationship with yourself, it’s going to be hard to stay authentic.
- How Others Act is Not Your Problem
Have you ever blamed yourself for other people’s moods due to your actions? Do you think that you have done something wrong whenever they were angry, grumpy or feeling down?
Yeah, I’ve been there too. But, we’re only responsible for our own lives, moods, and reactions. The way people react to you is not your problem. It’s completely out of your control. It’s usually due to many factors that have nothing to do with you at all.
Some people will show grace and love when realizing that you’re finally starting to be yourself. They’ll understand that your needs are a reflection of who you are. They’ll see that saying what you want doesn’t mean you reject or judge them in any way.
Others won’t understand, but that’s OK. Don’t let that bring you down. You have just as much right to live your life the way you want as they have to live theirs.
- Proceed With Baby Steps
Start by taking baby steps. Say no to going to the mall when you feel like staying at home. Pass up dessert if you’re already full, even when everyone else is having some. When someone asks your opinion about something, speak up.
Once you start to listen to your inner voice and give yourself permission to express what you want or need, your comfort level will begin to expand.
- Say Yes to Yourself
Voicing your needs always comes with the benefit of saying yes to yourself. When you need some time for yourself but your partner wants to be with you 24/7, explain that you need to recharge your energy.
When you want to go on a weekend getaway but your partner doesn’t go alone. When you want to end a relationship because your partner doesn’t enrich your life anymore, don’t apologize. People are in our lives for a season, reason or forever. Relationships are a lot of work, and when they’re not worth it anymore, like causing you to stress or you’re constantly second guessing yourself then they need to end.
I am a relationship type person, so when my marriage ended it was scary at first, but it made me realize that although I went in hoping for the fairytale of “happily ever after” that we were meant to be together for a reason (to have our children) and yes, technically because we have children we will be in each other’s life forever, the reason (our children) was to prepare me for the courage I needed to go it alone as well.
Once you know yourself inside and out, and truly respect yourself for who you are, this will all be easy. However, while you’re on the journey, it’s important to get a bit of perspective from time to time.
Remind yourself that you are perfectly fine just as you are, and your needs are not selfish, bad or too much. Then you will be able to recognize that the other person’s needs are just as important as long as you are comfortable accepting the fact that yours are important too.
In the beginning learning to stay true to yourself will be scary, but it gets easier the more often you do it, and will eventually come naturally. So, go on and give it a try, just keep in mind that if you don’t, the thing you may end up losing is yourself.