Why Standing Up for Yourself Can Cost You Some Friendships…

I was having a conversation the other day with my sister about the number of friends we’ve lost as we have evolved and started to step into our power.  Honestly, it made me quite sad and a little angry.  Granted, some people we will naturally lose connections with as we go on our separate paths, but some connections that were deliberately sniped due to One not behaving or thinking a certain way is what upset me. Then I remembered that as much as it hurts, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Why would you want to be around or connected to anyone who has a problem with who you are?  That’s the surfaced part of the question.

The answer runs deeper than that.  It’s much more difficult to be dismissive when the person is a family member or close friend.  Sure we say we don’t care, but often times that’s not the truth.  We simply act like we don’t care by avoiding that person or using other detractors.  I don’t know if there’s one definitive answer with how to deal this.  I can say what has worked for me in the past is to confront that person and be honest about my feelings.  One of three things usually happens, either they will admit that who you are becoming does bother them and you can have a real conversation (rare, but possible);  they will be shocked that you called them out on their behavior, deny it and then start appeasing you (i.e. kissing your ass); or they will flat-out deny it, possibly go on defense  and play the victim because they are embarrassed that they got called out, but still continue to behave in ways that hurt you. These things also could also happen in combination with the others.

If the first one does not happen then you’ve really got to be prepared to let that relationship go.  Yes, it will be a grieving process, but it’s sure in hell is not worth you backsliding into the mental hell you’ve worked so hard to get your way out of.  And sometimes they come back.  It may take them a while to get use to the “new” you or the You that they’ve never seen.  If they do, don’t be arrogant, egotistical or belligerent about it.  The fact that they are making an effort to accept you for who you are also shows signs of growth on their part too and it probably took a lot for them to even reach out.  Whether they do or don’t, don’t let that stop you from becoming who you are and living your life courageously.  Some people don’t like to rock the boat, they feel comfortable around those who are docile and sheepish.  Speaking up for yourself, setting boundaries and/or calling them out when they have violated is something they may not be used to and it can unravel their zones of comfort.

As always, check yourself.  Make sure in becoming your own person and holding others accountable that it doesn’t come from a place of maliciousness.  If your goal is simply to humiliate someone else or try to make them feel ostracized, then that is not real growth, that is not real healing.    I’ve written blogs about my past relationship and one of my friends asked me did I think the parties involved would be offended about me being so open about my experiences and posting it in such a public place.  Initially, that really pissed me off.  However, after I thought long and hard about that I determined that if they are, that is not my problem nor was that my intent.   I wrote about my experiences, how I felt and how I overcame.   I was very respectful of all parties involved and made sure I exercised a certain amount of privacy and discretion when even speaking on the subject.  It didn’t stop me from writing about how I felt and more than that, I was extremely truthful and forthright about everything that was stated.  I called myself out just as much and if not more than I called out anybody else, because it was my journey.   So I answered my friend’s question by stating, ” If anybody has a problem with anything I have written, there is nothing I can or am willing to do about that.”   And if they do, that’s more about shame than anything else, regardless of how it is painted.  It’s tough looking in a mirror when you don’t like what you see.  However, the good news is, if you don’t like what you see, you can always change it.

In closing, always be yourself.  Protect yourself,  check yourself and protect your heart, but don’t sell yourself out or short for anyone.  If they can’t or won’t accept you, then those are not the people you need have in your space to begin with.  In the words of Marianne Williamson, ” Our playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”   I couldn’t have stated it any better.

See my post “It’s Too Hard To Be Your Friend!” Why “Cutting People Off” Can Actually Backfire… for another side of this topic.

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One Response

  1. Read about 4 articles. We must have been separated at birth. #carryon.

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