I disengage with people that are disrespectful and rarely give it a second thought.
However, it wasn’t always this way.
I used to allow people to walk all over me. I used to not know how to speak my truth. I was brought up to stay quiet and not express myself. I was brought up in a household with strict parents who immigrated to Australia in the 60’s with nothing.
Growing up in a strict household was all I knew and I have worked tirelessly to heal my inner child. And now, I’m happy to say that I protect her every single day.
My path of self love, self worth and self discovery has been huge.
My life has been riddled with toxic friendships, toxic intimate relationships and toxic family relationships. There comes a point in your life where you sit back and think, what the f*ck is going on here? Except you, Queenie, my darling best friend of 26 years. You’ve been through it all with me my soul sister, my rock, gee I’m blessed to have you..
Have you felt like me?
Where you feel like you have negative people surrounding you? Let me tell you something, and I don’t mean to offend you but, stop blaming them or other people for your misfortunes, sadness or loneliness. Change doesn’t happen unless you create the change.
I grew up with a strict immigrant father and I knew from a young age that I would have to do things differently to other children to achieve my dreams, after all, one of my dreams was to be Mariah Carey (and then J.Lo).
Most parents would allow their child to go to singing, dance or acting lessons if that was their dream but not mine, oh no, that was not considered a good future career. Some of you reading this with strict, baby-boomer immigrant parents like mine will understand that we should all have been doctors and lawyers and gone to uni.
I wasn’t allowed to do anything my friends did at school. I wasn’t allowed to the year 5 camp, to sleep over at my friends house, to go hang out at a friends house (there was a handful of times I went to a friends house, but it required weeks of planning and anxiety to ask, tantrums and tears that after a while I couldn’t be bothered asking anymore). I wasn’t allowed to go to birthday parties, to go to the movies with friends or to the shopping mall, to join an acting agency, to go to acting lessons, to have a boyfriend, there are many other things I could list here but you get the drift right? I was a little human living like a bird in a cage. I just wanted to fly.
And fly I did.
The minute I turned 14 years and 9 months old I got a job and saved a whole year to pay for my own singing, acting and dance lessons. I performed at school and at competitions a lot. After school I became a dancer at nightclubs, I scouted my own acting agent (Gina Stoj- I love her), performed at community theatre shows, did tv commercials, tv guest appearances, flew to Hollywood where my short film where I played the lead actress, won like 10 awards, I became an MC/rapper and performed at nightclubs and music events around Australia, I became a public speaker, I modelled for local designers and I even learnt and became a DJ. I worked as an entertainer for my whole 20’s and into my early 30’s! Now I am happy to say I work in health with a wealth of experience to draw upon.
It’s rare that a girl with strict parents can do that but I was willing to lose any toxic relationship that was not serving me and guess what? My parents didn’t go anywhere. I’m sure I caused them some stress and I’m sure my Greek aunties had a field day with their gossiping of my career choices – however, I lived my life on my terms to the best of my ability and have created memories and experiences other people dream of. So don’t feel sorry for me, I love everything about my life – especially the down phases, because they were the fuel for me catapulting as high as I could!
Before I continue, please know that I do not blame my parents for anything at all because they grew up in an era where ‘talking about emotions and feelings’ was not ever done. How sad huh? I feel for them and send them so much gratitude and love for trying to do everything they could to protect me. It’s made me a resilient, aware, confident, empathetic, compassionate, strong minded and funny woman!
Nowadays we have parent coaches that can help us and all sorts of coaches to help us heal our own wounds.
Also, I highly recommend that if you are still caught up in the blame game, that your first call to action be working on forgiveness and working through anyone you blame for anything that has hurt you because it will help create a clean slate for you.
OK, continuing on!
As a child growing up in a very strict household and not having the emotional intelligence to deal with my internal chaos, the way I manifested my internal conflict in my teenage years (and some in my 20’s) was with eating disorders, mental health issues like anxiety and depression, self harm, social withdrawal, toxic friendships and toxic relationships, as well as toxic choices like smoking, alcohol and recreational drug use. My poor teenage soul…
There was lots of scare tactics instilled in my childhood and a child does not have the emotional intelligence to deal with anxiety, fear and strong-arm tactics. So why do parents do this? Fortunately it is a simple answer. Fear. Because it brings up a deep-rooted fear from their own childhood.
It is very fascinating to research. And research I did!
Parent Coaches like my friend Michelle Diasinos have taught me so much about parenting and I highly recommend working with one.
Part of my inner child healing process is to coach, explain and help other children that do not know how to deal with their internal chaos.Sometimes parents are so caught up thinking they are doing the right thing, that they can’t see that they are going about some things the wrong way and causing damage that will manifest later in their child’s life.
This blog shares a little insight into my life which is quite uncomfortable but I’m hoping it inspires someone to begin speaking their truth and asserting their boundaries to live a fuller life.
Learning about setting boundaries is one thing, but following through when someone crosses your boundaries is really what allows you to walk the path of self love and purpose. You must pave your own way and yes that requires strength.
Allowing people to treat you “less than”, allowing bullying, disrespect and any sort of toxic behaviour in your circle will always make you feel stuck or like you are being held back. Simply put, it is because you are not speaking your truth or following through with the ‘punishment’ of someone crossing your boundaries.
So what is it that makes us not speak our truth?
Fortunately it’s not a complicated answer. It is fear.
My common themes used to be: fear of not fitting in, fear of judgement, fear of rejection and fear of being alone.
Now I can gladly say that I don’t give a hoot about any of that!
My inner peace and happiness gives me so much more.
I learnt 4 things that shifted my mindset:
1. Fitting in was more about me having little self worth; so I worked on my self worth.
2. Fear of judgement was about wanting to be liked and having little self love; so I worked on my self love
3. Fear of rejection was about lack of confidence; so I worked on my self confidence
4. Fear of being alone was wanting to be loved; so I worked on loving myself
I can write a whole other blog on each of those 4 things if you’d like to hear my processes but I wanted to concentrate today’s blog on your inner truth because it will help pave the way for your happiest, healthiest future and it is the key to unlocking self love, self worth and self confidence.
So how do you learn to speak your truth and assert boundaries?
Here are my 3 practical tips:
- Tune in to your self and become aware of behaviours that you may have manifested. Here are some examples:
- You are the go-to person and end up taking things on, even though you don’t really want to. Sometimes this causes you to be accomodating and accepting of things that you shouldn’t even tolerate.
- You find it hard to say the word ‘No.’ It is usually stemmed from the belief that you are letting someone down if you put yourself first.
- You feel that conflict or confrontation is like a fight and try to avoid it
- You may think your opinions don’t matter or feel unsafe to share them. You may even find it hard to share your ideas, beliefs or values, especially if you feel like you weren’t heard or valued when you were a child.
- You judge…everyone and everything, including yourself – you can be your worst critic!
- You say “sorry” for everything, even when an apology was not needed. This can stem from your judgements of what you perceive you did/said was a ‘mistake.’
- You don’t believe that you are worthy of the love and respect you crave or that you are capable of living life on your terms
- You worry about what other people think about you
Now take a moment to write down your behaviours.
After you write those behaviours down, follow up with the new behaviour you actually want to instil. This is such a crucial step to speaking your truth and asserting boundaries. Read this list every single day and begin to implement your new, healthy behaviours until they become natural. This will teach you to trust your intuition, decisions and choices. How cool is that?
At the beginning it does require courage, but do it for your inner child and show them the way, heal yourself and step into your own shoes. The feeling you will receive will be one of elation.
2. What part do you play in a situation?
How did you show up to certain situations and is there anything you could do differently?
What are you responsible for and what are you allowing?
This is an amazing step to explore. I read a saying once and it went something like this: People treat you the way you allow them to treat you. Take the stand you need and always, always, always do it from a place of love. You don’t ever need to be rude, disrespectful or yell. Love is always the answer.
3. Calm your thoughts and the voice in your head
Fear speaks in the way of anxious thought. There is a voice in our head that loves to protect us and unfortunately we have to guide it when it comes to speaking our truth and asserting boundaries because it doesn’t know how to help us yet.
If this is a new process for you, you can talk to yourself in the mirror if you like, but please thank your inner voice for trying to protect you and verbally let your inner voice know, that you are an adult now, you are no longer afraid of living life on your terms and to work together to set yourselves free from those past fears.
This is a process and you must keep exercising the muscle until it becomes a habit. This took me years to perfect and even still, I’m learning! So be patient and just keep going through these steps and I promise you that if you do, you will fearlessly speak your truth each and every day and it will be ever so liberating!
It would be really good to document and journal each time you speak your truth. For example, I have friends that love to go out dancing and drinking and dancing and drinking hasn’t served me for many years now and it can be hard for people to adjust to accepting and respecting your decisions. Please note, if someone makes you feel bad for doing something that you really don’t want to, it’s a clue that you should explore. The clue is to look into that friendship or relationship and assess if you are outgrowing that person or if that person is dealing with their own fears that your truth has sparked in them! It really is a magical process.
I’ve been at my happiest since speaking my truth and asserting my boundaries and you can too.
Each and every time you fearlessly speak your truth you love yourself more and more. You are filling yourself up from the love that you may have been missing, you reclaim your power, you begin to receive the respect you deserve, you realign with your values, you recreate your own beliefs and you free your spirit and inner child that live inside you! You will be seen and heard in your own beautiful, loving light.
Feel free to share this blog to anyone you feel my benefit from it and I would love to hear your journey through this so please join my tribe The HOL Crew on facebook or tag me on instagram @hol_health. Seeing how I serve you really fills me up and makes my day!
Sending you loads of love, courage and hugs,