Being assertive is one way to build a healthy relationship. This can be any type of relationship – personal, work or business, or purely social. Assertiveness gives you the opportunity to deliver your message and opinion successfully. Essential features of assertiveness include being an honest and free expression of behavior, expressing feelings and demonstrating an attitude without violating other peoples’ rights while upholding one’s privacy and respecting their own opinions too. To stand up to your point of view is being confidently assertive. Being self- assured can increase confidence and respect from others. It leads other people to accept you for who you are and to see you as a good being.
A commonly held belief about lack of success is insufficient confidence to go after success. Another is a perception of low self-esteem holding one back. — Colleen Mullen, PsyD LMFT
Self-esteem is one factor that defines a person. Abraham Maslow indicated in his Human Needs Theory that this should be accomplished before reaching the last stage which is self-actualization. Failure to do so can lead to some psychological abnormalities that can also affect the person’s lives and those around them. Building self-esteem is a life-long process. It should start as early as childhood and extends although out of adulthood. If you are having some problems with your self-confidence, read more on how to develop your self-esteem.
New relationships can be exciting, and the feeling of being in-love is at times, overwhelming and uncontainable to the point of saturating the relationships and your partner with too much even though the relationship status is somewhat ambiguous or in the early stage. While there are much advice and tips on how to maintain relationships and how to handle problems along the way, it is also good to address the do’s and don’ts of new relationships.
The problem is that people rarely perceive themselves accurately. What actually blocks a person from achieving their goals is fear. — Colleen Mullen, PsyD LMFT
Looking outside the self and treating the illusory reflection as a mirror is the first problem. — Donna Rockwell, Psy.D.
Self-actualization determines the core of our existence. It is the phase in our lives where we evaluate how far we have become in our pursuit of success in life. Self- actualization enables us to evaluate how we were able to bring out the best in us and maximized our potentials in accomplishing every goal we have set for ourselves. It gives us a sense of fulfillment and purpose in life.
The most important relationship for us to develop is the one we share with ourselves. — Genevieve Gellert, LSW
We are all a work in progress with an end in mind of becoming a better version of ourselves. However, as we work things out for our personal growth and development, it is inevitable for us to experience some ordeals in life. These trials determine our endurance; they can make or break us.
It is part of becoming human to experience problems in life, to be familiar with pain and become acquainted with struggles. All these tribulations demand to be felt and get over them. On the other hand, we are responsible for our life; we take accountability on how we live our lives. With this, the only person that can determine our success in life is ourselves, thus above everyone else, we should make sure that we can help ourselves.
I know that in our society, the woman who is left behind bears all the shame and humiliation. “Oh, you know. Henry left Lisa because she doesn’t know how to cook.” I also heard someone say something like this about me – “Lisa is not a pious woman. That is why Henry was weak. His wife wasn’t that Godly.” I don’t know where they get these stories, like as if they know so much about me, and they judge me just like that. “Lisa is fat. Lisa is lazy. Lisa is not a good mother. Lisa is not working. Lisa is working. Lisa is not talented. Lisa is NOT in EVERYTHING! No wonder Henry left Lisa for a younger woman, right? It’s because Lisa is a worthless being. Lisa is nothing.
Some sayings might be well-intended, but that doesn’t make them true, let alone easy to hear. Case in point: “You can’t find love until you learn to love yourself.” — Vicki Botnick, MA, MS, LMFT
For weeks after Henry left me, that was my mindset. I was broke, and a housewife since Henry didn’t like me working. And now, I was shocked when my daughter told me that the new woman is a lawyer. Henry hired her for one of his contracts for business, and boom! They made the relationship prosper. And here comes Lisa – fat, frumpy, moneyless, and ugly at forty-five years old. Who would want that?
How could Henry do this to me? How could he forget all our hardships and sacrifices together as a couple? I even helped him with his business when he started it. I was with him when he had nothing until he had a lot. And he told me that I had to take care of the girls while he took care of us. That was how we planned it. But this, now. He left me, and he hates me. Why is Henry doing this to me?
It is a blessing that I am a great mother. Yes, the gossipmongers said I was not a good mother – that’s because I am a GREAT mother! My daughters took time off from their work and traveled hours to be with me and plan everything out – on how I will rebuild myself again.
First, they brought me to a lawyer for advice. Next, they took me to a salon. The hairstylist cut my hair and colored it. They also gave me a mani-pedi. Then, we had lunch, and there, my children poured out their plan.
Social support allows us to feel cared for and lets us know there are people in our lives who can help us when we need it. — Genevieve Gellert, LSW
“Mom, Dad will not get away with this. I saw a note in the attic. It was a promise to pay note by you and Dad to Uncle Mervin. It was to capitalize on his business. It stated there mom that you two are business partners. You will get money from that, and we don’t care whatever loophole he has against you.”
My children facilitated the case while I took a step back and renewed my soul. I went to therapy and also joined a local yoga class. All of it, my girls foot in the bill. “Mom, we got you. We will never leave you alone, mom.”
I’m not in for the money with Henry, although my daughters believed that I deserved half of everything he owns. I want to start over and move past the depressive state that I was in for I love myself now. I refuse to go down the drain.
Self-care helps trauma survivors discover how to calm themselves and find healthier relationships. — Robyn E. Brickel, M.A., LMFT
When you believe in yourself, you will fight and move on from the heartaches of life. And that’s what I did. I thought that I had to live a life that I wanted and if that meant being away from Henry, then, so be it.
I was awarded half of what he owned, royalties in the business, one of his cars, and the house!
It’s a thin line between having compassion for yourself and having it for others. Working on both pieces at the same time is helpful. — Vicki Botnick, MA, MS, LMFT
It wasn’t easy for me to move on from a 20-year marriage that was broken in a snap. My husband of two decades left me for a younger woman. There, I said it. I am not ashamed of it, though because it’s not me who cheated. It was him who broke his vows over and over and over again for all those years that we were together.
But I stayed. Even if he was silently disrespectful to me by cheating, I still chose to stay. You know when you live in the past, the family is everything. Your mother will tell you – “Katarina, you have to do everything to keep Ricardo in your arms. If he cheats, it is your fault. You have to bear all the consequences of the situation, Kata. This is the role of a woman in any marriage.” What a backward way to think, I know. Too bad for me, I believed my mother of that pitiful thinking until I realized that it was false.
I was on self-pity mode, and I am pretty sure now that I was in a state of depression back then when Ricardo left me. I cried day and night. My whole room was a mess, and I stink for not taking a bath three or four days at a time. I didn’t dare to get up and seize the day. My only daughter lived states away, and Ricardo was telling me I had to leave the house. They found a loop, and he is saying that I can’t have the house or any part of his business. I believed him. It was the “stupid” in me that failed to fight for my right.
Parents and loved ones can help the healing process by returning with new compassion to that moment: “I’m so sorry I was taken by surprise. I just want you to know that I love you and I understand that there’s something going on for you.” — Robyn E. Brickel, M.A., LMFT
“Who does he think he is?” Rita, Ricardo’s sister, told me on a phone call days after he left me. “Kata, I will go there, and we will give this brother of mine the spanking he deserves. He will NOT leave you broke and penniless. After everything you sacrificed for him and Kasey? This is what he does to you? No!!! Our mother, God bless her soul, would roll over her grave if she witnessed Ricky acting like this and making you suffer. You know how much she loved you, right?” It was such a relief that my sister in law was supportive of me and is willing to assist me.
And so, Rita came and slapped her brother. He was so afraid of her that Ricardo asked for forgiveness and called up an attorney to draft what he was going to “share” to me. Of course, the attorney came in haste since Ricky had the money to pay for it. All the while, Rita was there watching and waiting. Rita made Ricardo award one million dollars to me and his condo. I know he had a couple more properties, but I didn’t care about it. Rita has helped me a lot with this, and from there, I can go on with my life even if it is a life without Ricardo in it.
I still love him after everything. And while I bask on the money he gave me, I live frugally. I bought a small building with five rooms for rent, and that’s how I make my monthly living. I also pursued my love for baking, which was my therapy during those downtimes. I posted the goods online through social media apps and sold them in the mall too.
The most essential tool for any kind of personal change is awareness. With awareness, we can begin to learn how to make the best choices for ourselves. — Genevieve Gellert, LSW
My life is simple, but at least, I am happy. You don’t need a partner or a spouse to be complete. All you need is yourself and that belief that you can do it even if you’re on your own. (But of course, I was lucky to have Rita!)
What I went through wasn’t easy at all. For more than fifteen years, I let myself go and believed that life revolved around my husband and my kids. He took advantage of me and my gullibility. I thought, love was like that – he can trample on me anytime he wanted. In my mind, that was normal. When I became free, I realized that for a long time, I forgot to love myself. That’s the reason why I allowed him to use and abuse me.
At some point during our marriage, I know for a fact that he loved me. I held on to that thought, which was the doorway to his lousy treatment towards me. If I could go back and rewind time, I would change the way I saw myself so that he would have treated me the way that I deserved – a woman who is loved, cared for, and respected. But if you have low self-esteem, you will be blind, and try your best to reason out for the people that mean so much to me.
If you are wondering what I meant by reason out, I can give you an example.
He used to stay out late at night because of poker. He would join poker tournaments during the weekends, but at night, during weekdays, he would play cash games. This is his “work.” It is his “profession.” He was a professional gambler, but I didn’t say it that way to our children, my family, and friends. What I would “reason out” to them was “He is such a great card player that the Poker Club hired him to their in-house player. This is a real job, and that is his profession.” That was one of my reasons.
Empowerment requires us to seek, cultivate, maintain, and support our inner power, as well as that of others. — Genevieve Gellert, LSW
At times, he would not participate in family gatherings. What do I say to relatives who are looking for him? My reasons: “Oh, he is not here because he has a business deal going on right now. He is sad that he can’t go to your party, auntie, but we have a family of five to feed wherein he is the sole provider. I don’t do anything to earn money, auntie. It is just him. I don’t help out, and so, he has to work even on weekends.”
One interesting way to gauge if you’re compassionate to others is to ask if you feel like others are judging you. Although it sounds conflicting, a worry that you are being judged is often an indication you have been taught to judge others. — Vicki Botnick, MA, MS, LMFT
How stupid I once was with my reasons, keep the marriage and family intact.
But now, I am not doing it anymore. I am not allowing myself to reason out for him or anyone else ever. People who lack self-esteem would do that, and I am trying to change it. I am worthy of respect and love, which is why I will not anymore subject myself of his lies and his crap.
When you realize your worth, you will not let other people put you down. You will not let other people mistreat you. The reason for that is self-love. You will prioritize your feelings and thoughts more if you put yourself first before others.
I am not saying that you have to be selfish. What I am trying to express here is that low self-esteem will make you a target, and you must not let that happen. If you let yourself go, people will see that you’re a pushover and they will take you for granted.
Far from being selfish in a negative way, self-care helps trauma survivors let go of behaviors that don’t serve them well, and take part in healing both internal relationships with themselves and externally with others. — Robyn E. Brickel, M.A., LMFT
You are worth something. Don’t let others fool you into thinking that you are nothing. Remember, self-love. You are worthy of respect and everything else good in life.
Feel like you’re dragging an anchor along with you? I’ve heard a theory that feeling like this might mean you are sabotaging yourself and your own chances of success and growth. — Stuart B. Fensterheim, LCSW
How can you improve yourself? I have asked myself that question so many times, and while I know the answer to this hard inquiry, I still can’t make that move towards self-improvement. Why? I was lazy. And I also used to make up excuses so that I don’t have to move.
Are you like me? Do you also feel lazy when it’s time to make a move of self-improvement? Are you also making up excuses as to why you cannot go the extra mile? If you are like me, then, STOP. Stop your laziness and stop your excuses. Now is the time to get up, man up, move for the better, and improve yourself and your life.
How can I do that when my husband left me? Is it possible to be motivated now that my mother just died? I am sick (a bit), and I cannot move much (or so you thought) – how can I make it since I might die (which is not true)?
Again, excuses and laziness. So what if your husband left you? Fifty percent of people in the United States are divorced. This is a fact of life. Not everyone has their happily ever after. A lot of people have broken marriages, but some choose to move on and get past it. It’s because they love themselves more than they loathe themselves. They want to improve on their life, and one way to do that is accepting that your spouse will no longer be in your life romantically.
It is a matter of acknowledging the truths in your life and making the most out of the given situation. So what if your husband has another woman and he left you? Is it the end of the world? Did God come out of heaven and splashed waves of thunder towards you? While there is still time, you make do of what you have and what is left for you.
He cheated on you? Make yourself beautiful. Buy that dress that you always wanted to wear. Change your hairstyle. Try out different colors for your clothes. Do something different with your life, with yourself, and that is how you can start to rise, move on, and improve.
Having compassion for others is good practice for being kinder to ourselves. — Vicki Botnick, MA, MS, LMFT
So, you are sick. Go to your doctor and get the real deal on your sickness. Is it fatal? If it is far from that, then, ask how you can get treatment. When you are physically healthy, you can do a lot of good things for yourself and your life. You can join sports activities, or enjoy art and other creative movements. Some people start painting, and even ballet in their forties. You know, in life, as long as you are breathing, it is never too late to achieve anything. All you have to do is love yourself, and live your life, one day at a time.
Now, if your loved one just died, you are allowed to grieve. But remember this, will your loved one like it that you are suffering so much because of him or her? The person will turn on his grave if you are not living the life that you are supposed to live because of grief. Why don’t you start praying for clarity, calm, and tranquillity? It is not easy to live without your loved one, but if you want to improve, you will have to push yourself out of that melancholic mood.
Life is both complicated and simple at the same time. That’s a fact since people make it that way. But you can always choose to make it better – take a deep breath, and soldier on. Kick lazy and excuses to the curb.
When we feel good, it creates a ripple effect because of the way our bodies coregulate. — Andrea L. Bell, LCSW, SEP