The Mew Way: Being Assertive and Getting What You Want
My adorable cat, mew, is a pretty laid back little guy most of the time. He is docile, gentle, and very sweet. However, when he wants something, he has no trouble letting me know. If his food bowl is empty, he has this cry that is heart wrenching. He won’t let up until the bag of Friskies is out and pouring. Sometimes If I am really acting focused on something else (or half asleep), Mew will walk right in my path and it is hard not to step on him. Okay, Mew, you got my attention!
When Mew wants my attention it really doesn’t matter that I am reading my newspaper, paying the bills , or lesson planning. He will plop his little self right on my important papers and look at me and meow as if he’s saying “here I am! Love me. Pay atention to me”.
For whatever reason, Mew does not like the tap water we have here in Florida. Or he doesn’t like it when it is in his stainless steel bowl in the kitchen. I am at a sink, though- and boy, he wants that water out of the faucet. He becomes quite insistent. I had better turn that faucet on a bit for him before I am able to wash my hands, do the dishes, brush my teeth, etc.
I am a cat owner. I am also a mother and teacher of second graders. Come to think of it, like Mew, children are very good at getting our attention and getting what they want too.
Where am I going with this? My question for this morning is what are we doing to get our needs met? To get what we want for our lives? This issue may be more for women but it can be for anyone who is a bit of a pleaser, is shy, or has issues with asserting themselves.
One of my greatest sources of anxiety and insomnia is from not asserting myself in my life. What will they think of me? I would ask myself. I would not speak up and then beat myself up for being weak or scared, and not really being myself. It doesn’t feel very good when we are not being our true selves. Stifling oneself is not healthy. If we don’t speak up we can end up feeling resentful and bitter. That is not good energy or baggage to go through life with. Moreover, we are depriving the people around us and the world of the wonderful people we really are.
It is difficult and scary at first, but I encourage anyone who has social anxiety, assertiveness issues etc. to work on speaking up. Let your voice be heard. I am amazed how for so many years I worried about what others would think of me. I had to be the perfect little girl and woman and was terrified to let that mask down and let people see that I in fact, was not perfect (yikes. the horror of it!). I am realizing now that I am in my forties that most people are too busy living their own lives to be putting much thought about me. That revelation is a such a relief to me. If I can catch myself starting to worry, I’ll tell myself “what they think about me is really none of my business!). That perspective seems to put a smile on my face and my monkey mind more relaxed.
In sum, what have I learned from Mew, the children in my life, and years of life experience?
- If we want something, ask for it. Direct communication is most effective.
- What we have to say has value and we deserve to be heard!
- Insistence and persistence pay off
- 99.9% of what we worry about does not happen. This includes worrying that people are thinking bad thoughts about us (chances are they are not thinking about us at all- let alone anything negative).
- Remind ourselves that life is not a dress rehearsal. It is time be ourselves and live an authentic life- the life we are intended to live. If not NOW, when?!!!
- For Mew, asserting himself gives him a bowl full of Friskies, dripping faucet water to drink and play in, and lot’s of love, adoration, and affection. He doesn’t try to be anything that he’s not. He is a cat. He doesn’t try to be a dog.
Being comfortable in our own skin will result in a happier life and better sleep. As I write this, Mew is sound asleep at the foot of my bed. I think he does alright for himself.
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