ASK COLETTE: Moving Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Here, Zoomer guru Colette Baron-Reid on ways to assert yourself that is not self-sabotaging, but self-nurturing.
I am certain I am also a person who feels too much, as you describe in your book. However, no matter how much I try to move outside of my comfort zone, I struggle with asserting myself. I have always been a people-pleaser and I don’t know any other way to be. The problem is I am often treated poorly by men, friends and colleagues and rather than stay mad at them, I just get mad at myself. Can you give me some small steps I can take that will not leave me in a pool of my own sweat or my face in the cookie jar? – Wimpy
You may not know what is really behind someone’s groan or hesitation. So take a breath. Breathe deeply and slowly while the other person is talking. You can handle this temporary discomfort and remember that her emotions are not yours to own. If she starts to take things out on you and dump her garbage in your direction, acknowledge and honor her feelings simply by saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Don’t change your mind and own responsibility for her feelings. Simply make a decision in that moment. Are you going to stay and get dumped on or politely remove yourself from the situation until she is ready to be sensitive to your feelings? The choice of what to do when someone is being cruel to you is yours now.
You’ll no longer be automatically sucked into the vortex of other people’s strong emotions. There is a breath, a moment, in which you access your neutrality, observe what’s happening, and make a nonreactive choice. You do not have to be in her emotional space.
Be patient with yourself during this awkward stage. Just as there is no quick-fix diet, there’s no quick fix to your habit of bending over backward for people and forgetting where you end and they begin. As you learn to assert yourself, remember that your own self-care is more important that someone else’s temporary discomfort.
Love and blessings,