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How to Ditch Meekness and Walk Tall

How to Ditch Meekness and Walk Tall

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    Are you a meek person?

    If so, your life may be ruled by others, and it’s time to ditch meekness. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Because meekness is a habitual response to the challenges of life. And it takes time and effort to change ingrained habits.

    The root of meekness is low self-esteem. When our self-esteem is low, we respond to the challenges of life with doubts and fears. And this response is usually established early on. Our parents, caregivers, teachers, and peers leave a lasting legacy that isn’t always positive. For example, if you were bullied, shut up, abused, or controlled as a child, you may well suffer from meekness. I say ‘suffer’ because meekness doesn’t make you happy; it leads to an unfulfilled life.

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    The good new is: you can learn to walk tall!

    My first memory is about ditching meekness. I was two years old and my parents were shifting from England to Germany. In order to keep me safe on board the ferry, my mother put me into a harness attached by a lead .

    I was furious.

    Years later, I asked my mother about this memory, and she told me what happened next. Apparently, I threw such a tantrum  that people gathered around to watch the screaming toddler writhing on the floor. My poor mother was so embarrassed that she eventually took me out of the harness. I immediately slipped into the crowd. Gone!

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    As you can imagine, my parents were frantic. In the end, a large group of passengers started looking for me. Finally, they found me in the crew’s quarters, happily swinging on ladders.

    In terms of meekness, I haven’t improved much since then. And that’s a good thing. Why? Because ditching meekness gives you freedom.

    Meekness lets others rule your life.

    In bygone days, meekness was a seen as an admirable womanly attribute. It meant that women didn’t complain about not having rights,  being her husband’s chattel,  not having any financial independence, or not being able to vote. These days, the cultural majority prefer to see meekness not so much in women, but among cultural minorities. Otherwise – oh my gosh – they might even demand equal rights!

    St. Matthew said: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Well, maybe that’s true  – but they’ll have to wait a long time until everyone else has had first pick!

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    We don’t have to wait. After all, we all have the ability to change. All we need to do is to practice new responses to familiar patterns. Read on to find out how how to change.

    Seven tips on how to ditch meekness

    1. Find your voice
      Meek people usually speak in a quiet voice. Ask yourself who you really are under the veneer of meekness. Let that inner person speak out. Great ways to find your voice is to take up voice training,  join Toastmasters, or take singing lessons.
    2. Bring out the warrior within
      If your confidence is low, take up a martial art. Martial arts are designed to bring out the warrior within.
    3. Speak up
      Meekness makes us silent. Practice speaking up. Join a friendly group and say just one thing at every meeting.
    4. Use affirmations
      Affirmations are great tools to change the way we see ourselves. Put stickers on your mirror and in unexpected places, saying “I am getting stronger every day!”
    5. Stand strong
      Meekness is evident in the way we hold our body. It shows in rounded shoulders and collapsed posture. Train yourself to stand upright, and you will immediately feel the benefits.
    6. Change your self-talk
      Notice what you say to yourself. You’ll find that you put yourself down much more often than anyone else does! When you notice a negative thought, replace it with something positive.
    7. Be with positive people
      Confidence is infectious! If you hang out with people who are positive and can see your potential, it helps you to see yourself in a different light.

    If you suffer from  low self-esteem, it’s helpful to find the root cause. You may find that someone in your early life put you down again and again. Maybe your parents said to you, “You’re hopeless!” or your teachers said, “You’ll never get anywhere.” The strange thing is that we internalize these negative messages – even strengthen them – and then use them over and over for the rest of our life! Here’s a sure-fire strategy in order to release ourselves from past humiliations:

    Say ‘no’ to your gremlin

    Next time you hear your own judgmental thoughts telling you that you’re no good, imagine a little gremlin sitting on your left shoulder, whispering nasty things into your ear. What does it look like? What color is it? Maybe you can imagine it in some way that’s funny and makes you smile.

    Whenever you notice negative self-talk, imagine the gremlin sitting there and say to it firmly, “Not now!” Then carefully wipe it off your shoulder. (To others it’ll look as if you’re brushing lint off your clothes.)

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    It’s really important to treat your gremlin with kindness as well as with firmness. After all, your negative voices are the remnants of remarks that hurt you in the past. The gremlin is like a little part of yourself that is still smarting from put-downs that happened years ago.

    If you say ‘no’ to your gremlin over and over, you will begin to see that your negative self-talk has nothing at all to do with who you are. It has to do with how other people hurt you in the past. Then you will be able to walk taller each day.

    Ditch meekness today and begin to walk tall!

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2020

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

    Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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    Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

    However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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    The leap happens when we realize two things:

    1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
    2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

    Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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    Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

    My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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    In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

    “Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

    Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

    More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

    Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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