Recently a friend who is in a new relationship was having trouble communicating with her new partner. Her problem was something we have all been through. She wanted him to do something differently but was afraid to speak her mind in case it put the relationship in danger. (We have all been there at some point or other.) I gave her some advice and it seemed to work, however this situation got me musing. When not speaking up doesn’t serve us, why is it we are so afraid to communicate ask for what we want in our relationships? Of course there is the obvious answer of the fear of rejection or hurting someone you love, however I felt there might be something deeper at the root of this fear. And there is. It all boils down to self worth.
The paradox is this that in order to communicate openly what we want we actually have to truly believe we deserve whatever it is we want. If we believe wholeheartedly that we deserve something then we are much more likely to stand up for ourselves and ask for what we want. If you have low self worth (or by another name low self esteem) you will have trouble speaking up for yourself. The irony is that in order to improve your self worth you actually have to speak up for yourself. Another paradox – yey! (Sarcasm intended.)
So it’s a double paradox and a situation that usually results in people doing the proverbial impression of an ostrich and burying their heads in the sand, or in you and me terms closing down, not saying anything, until it boils up into a huge problem and a future topic of one hell of a row with your partner. You can get stuck in that pattern forever…
However you don’t have too. You’ll be glad to know there is a way out of this conundrum. It took me awhile to learn it yet it is possible if you are willing to keep on going. With a little effort you can break down this pattern. Below are my ……. steps to communicating your self worth in relationships I know if you follow them and stick at it you will find that the bonus is not only will you have happier, healthier relationships you will also have a higher sense of self worth!
I am worth it
L’Oreal’s classic phrase “I am worth it” needs to be your mantra. You are worth it. You are just as important as the other person in your relationship. A healthy relationship is balanced. You need to both treat yourselves, each other and your emotional experiences with equal high worth and importance. Look at yourself every morning in the mirror and say I am worth it!
Ok, this can be tough and it is important. Be brave. One of my life’s favorite quotes and motivation is the saying “Bravery is not the absence of fear, it is having a fear and doing it anyway”. If you don’t ask you won’t get. If you don’t try and change a pattern it will never change. If you don’t explain to your partner what you need they can’t automatically fulfill that need. You have to be brave enough to try and brave enough to fail. Because honestly communicating your worth doesn’t always get the result you like or wanted. In that case that person was not right for you. If your partner can’t value you and your needs then they are not MR or Mrs *the one* and you can do better. In which case you have to be brave enough to try again. I cannot stress the importance of the bravery to dare. In everything it is an essential tool in your life.
Get clear around what you want. How many of us have tried to have an important conversation with our partner without defining what we want, identifying our desired outcome or planning the conversation and the whole thing has been a fiasco? I know I have. If you want communication to be clear then you need to get clear. I use John Gray’s “Love letter technique” ALOT!. I cannot recommend it highly enough as a brilliant blueprint for effective communication with a loved one (and that is with family members or friends as well). But if that doesn’t work for you there are many other strategies around online. A few of them will be on the Re:root Facebook site this week to inspire you.
Boundaries and compromise
Know your boundaries and know where you will compromise. This is both a key element of empowering your self worth and empowering your relationships. There are things we will do and won’t. Things we will accept and things we won’t. Know what is acceptable for you and know where you will be flexible and your relationship with flourish.
You are not the only person to have a hard time saying what you want. It could be that your partner has it just the same way. When you talk to them give them the chance to tell you about their needs too. Don’t make them feel like you are nagging but you are looking for solutions that work for both of you. Make the opportunity to fulfill their needs as well as yours. Compromise can be absolutely key here. And don’t forget to be grateful for the changes they make for you and appreciate what they do so that they can see you are grateful, gratitude goes a long way.
Remember if you treat yourself and your partner as though you have a high sense of self worth that is what will resonate back to you. Honestly it doesn’t matter who the relationship is with these steps work equally s well with your boss, your mother as they do with your partner. Only you can vocalize and show the world how much you are worth it. So use your voice to show them how you shine and believe me people will start to treat you with respect and value.