Our fear, neediness and lack of confidence causes us to be taken for granted and treated poorly.
A freelance writer friend was bemoaning the number of times she had been exploited and taken for a ride. “Publishers have not paid me, and one or two have even passed off my work as their own,” she moaned.
I asked her if she had stated the terms clearly before writing for any of them and she conceded that she had not. And why not? Because she was afraid they would not take her on if she did.
Similarly, another friend has a genius in finding the wrong partner. She has gone through a string of relationships that have left her feeling used and even abused, because she did not know how to draw her boundaries. Afraid of antagonising the partner, she allowed him to ride roughshod over her until the dysfunctional relationship finally collapsed.
Let’s face it. Most of us fear rejection. Rejection at the work level, at the romantic level, or at the social level. Someone on a higher social platform than us invites us to a party, and we fall over ourselves to say yes.
Each time we act out of this weakness, we live to regret it. Our fear, neediness and lack of confidence send out a crystal clear message to the world at large that often causes us to be taken for granted, treated poorly and at its worst, abused. So what should we do? Act out of strength and not weakness.
This is not always easy, I recognise, but it is essential. Prepare to lose an assignment or two, or a boy/girl friend or two, but stand your ground. Know that life often tests you, so do not fail the test. Never do anything that militates against your self-respect. Your self-respect is the armour that helps you to go through life unscathed. Mess around with it by compromising on your values or by allowing poor treatment and you will have lost one of your most precious assets.
When I took over the editorship of Life Positive, I had some hard choices to make. As a path-breaking body-mind-spirit magazine, we were always short of money, so the publisher had at that time decided that it was no longer possible to pay freelancers for their articles. For the same reason, the editorial staff strength was skeletal, which left me with only one option — get Life Positive’s readers, who were an eager band of seekers, to write for LP. Since they were not professional writers and were making money through other professions, many were happy to forego payment for the joy and satisfaction of conveying their insights and experiences to a larger audience. Even though I was in an unenviable place, I refused to compromise on the quality of the articles. I worked hard, writing many articles myself, and co-opting friends who were good writers. After a few months, good writers began to mail me, wanting to write for LP because it was recognised as a prestigious place to be featured in.
So how can we move from weakness to strength? There is no easy solution. We need to work on our self-esteem by doing all that gives us more faith in our capability, as well as recognise our innate self-worth as a child of God. We need to become more aware of our strengths and ignore our weaknesses. We need to recognise and affirm that as part of God we are whole and perfect, and already are everything we seek to be.
Gradually, a deeper strength will build up within you that will enable you to steer the vessel of your life with confidence and courage. Then see how splendidly life treats you.
The writer is former editor-in-chief of Life Positive magazine and founder, facilitator of the Zen of Good Writing Course. Contact her at email@example.com