Throughout life, there are times when we may come across an individual or a situation where a person is very dominant, controlling and possibly even manipulative. Sometimes it is a boss who doesn’t allow us to voice our opinions. Sometimes it is a family member who is very demanding and finds ways to get us to manipulate us into doing what they want. And sometimes, it may be a friend who is very pushy and demands that others do things their way, on their time schedule, forgetting that those around them are affected in the process.
This can frustrate us, making us feel stifled, and worst of all, powerless. And although it may come to a head only once in awhile, if we are in a relationship or friendship where this happens on a frequent basis, it can take a toll, and we can lose our sense of worth and even worse, sense of self. It can be debilitating. The only way we can avoid these feelings is to take the power back, and empower ourselves.
Let’s take an illustrative example of a friend who is perpetually late. You find it irritating and inconsiderate. Moreover, you resent the fact that her perpetual lateness causes you to be late as well. With this example in mind, here are six steps to empower yourself out of her control:
- Take Charge of Your Life: The only person who can really control your life is you. Start acknowledging how you feel about these situations. Start making decisions for yourself and prioritizing what is important to you. Example: Admit that your friend’s lateness bothers you. Think about the ideal situation and how you would like it to play out. Picture it in your mind.
- Set Goals: Setting goals allows us to stay true to what is important to us. Goals can be big or small. Whatever the case, create goals that are important to you and don’t let anyone else hurt your chances of reaching them. Example: If there is an event or function that you want to be on time for, set a goal that you will be on time no matter what.
- State Your Opinion/Thought/Preference: Once you have a goal in mind, state it out loud. State it to yourself and to the other person so they know where you stand. Be clear in voicing your expectation, and don’t leave anything up to the imagination by assuming the person understands what you want. Example: State to the individual who is always late that it is very important to you that you are on time for the event. Let them know you are willing to go without them if they aren’t ready in time.
- Stand Your Ground: Wishywashiness isn’t going to help you in these situations. Don’t back down from what you believe, feel or want. Stand your ground and follow through with your plan to ensure your goal is met. Example: If the other person is late, leave without them. If you don’t, they will continue to assume that it is okay to push their schedule on you.
- Stop Relying on Others for Approval: Part of what allows us to be ruled by others is that we want their approval. The reality is, if you respect yourself and stand up for what you want, then others will start respecting you more for it. Example: If after you leave and the other person gets upset. Make it clear that you informed them you would leave without them. Don’t apologize. You did what was important to you and you stayed true to yourself.
- Let go: There will be times when these steps aren’t always possible. You might just find that a relationship is repetitively one-sided in consideration. Instead of getting upset, let go. Realize that the person isn’t going to change and that you have the power to not let it bother you. Find ways to ensure that you take care of yourself. Example: If the person continues to be late for everything, stay true to your priority and start going alone and stop caring. Let go of the feelings and just accept them for who they are and start empowering yourself to be the on-time person you want to be.
Empowering yourself is important. Waiting for others to empower you gets you nowhere. Have you had a relationship where you felt you had no power? What did you do to address the situation?