I wrote a guest post for Cordelia Calls it Quits early this year about quitting being a pushover.
I’m not always a pushover, and in fact I have the tendency to lean more toward a leadership role more often, but when it comes to somebody who has more of a dominant personality, I find that I let them take charge and make all of the decisions, despite having my own opinions.
It’s a natural reaction that I tend to have, and then I let resentment toward that person bottle up until I have a breakdown, even though it is all my own doing.
So for the past little while, I have been working toward not being a pushover in the face of people who want to .. well, push me over.
It’s been a hard road, and frankly, I do revert back frequently to having no spine in the face of these personalities, but I’m making huge progress which is a big deal for me.
Here’s what I’ve learned about sticking up for yourself, not being a pushover, and getting what you want sometimes:
Teach people how to treat you
I think the first step toward not being a pushover – the first thing that you have to establish before doing any of the following – is to teach people how to treat you. This is hard to do if you are a pushover to begin with.
That’s the thing. I’ve fallen in that trap before; where I’m too much of a pushover to teach people how I want to be treated. But sum up a moment of braveness and put people in their place before they trample you.
Speaking loudly immediately makes people listen, even if your message isn’t an important one. It draws people’s attention and is a sign of dominance and confidence. Speak loudly to avoid being trampled.
This is admittedly hard to do when faced with something intimidating, and I certainly struggle with this around certain people. Speaking concisely is important as it shows confidence, knowledge, and expertise. Being able to relay a message without fluff words or stuttering shows people that they can’t walk all over you, which is extremely important.
Share Your Knowledge
Be confident enough to share your knowledge of a subject. Don’t let people assume that you are in the dark. It’s easier to push people around that are ignorant. You have something to bring to the table too, so be sure to let it show.
If somebody is trying to push you to do something you don’t want to do, make excuses (ie: I can’t because my mom is in town this weekend). This may not be the piece of advice that you’ll hear often, but it’s a baby step that you can do to show people how to treat you. If you always agree to do the things that you don’t want to do simply because you are letting people walk all over you, you will set a precedent. Making excuses at least removes you from the situation that you dreading, and they are less likely to try to push you into something next time.
Don’t Get Too Stubborn
Even if you are trying to prove a point, and even if that point is that you won’t let people walk all over you, don’t be the person that never budges from their position. You know people like that, I know people like that, and heck, sometimes I am even that person. But you have to be able to do things that you don’t want to do sometimes to maintain your relationships. There is a fine line between being a doormat and being flexible. Find it.
You’ll get there
If you are trying – really trying – you’ll get there. It isn’t going to happen over night because you have to tear down all of the pre-conceived notions of yourself that you’ve put into other people’s heads. Change is a slow moving thing, and we can’t expect it to happen right away. But keep working at it and you’ll find a balance.